McKellen: Playing the Part (2017) Review

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McKellen: Playing the Part is a truly fantastic documentary taking a look at the life and work of acting legend Sir Ian McKellen. A very intimate journey with the man showing sides to him that we have never really seen before.

The main thing that I found to be outstanding in this documentary is that when Sir Ian was telling a story from his early life we actually get to see different parts then acted out by younger actors, I felt this gave it more of an edge than just having talking about the past. Being able to show just how he remembered everything that happened in his life, defining moments. His sexuality very much one of the main talking points, how he did not really understand it to begin with and then how he became an activist for equal rights. Also about the men he has loved in his life and how that has made him feel, how AIDs really affected

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Taking everyone on the journey through his acting career and how he felt he was born to perform and then be on stage. The live long friends he made at University and how those actors would go on to achieve so many special and great things. That is way this film is such a great watch, we get to know the man we think we already do a whole lot more. Taking away from those famous film franchises that made him mainstream and world-famous.

His love for Theatre and still touring with shows is still very much part of him and something he continues to do to this day. In 2019 he is embarking on an 80 show date all across the UK to celebrate his 80th birthday which is just fantastic (and yes of course I have front row tickets for Newcastle) and it just shows how he appreciates that people love theatre outside of London as well. Not that seeing him on stage in the West End would be a bad thing but sometimes travel and costs do make it difficult.

This documentary is certainly put together in such a pleasing way and I really enjoyed getting to know one of my favourite actors in a deeper manner and think this was the perfect way to do all of that something I wish we could see more often. Sir Ian is remarkable and I don’t think we will really have any other actors on his level in terms of stage performances and then leading to film performances, but then also being in franchises as well. I would even go as far as saying he is a one-off and one of a kind, I don’t think that is a bold statement at all. It think it perfectly sums up this truly outstanding actor and man. If you are interested in theatre, film or Ian McKellen then this really is a much watch!

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