THE WHALE (2022) – My rating: 8.5/10

TheWhalePoster.jpgThe Whale is a drama directed by Darren Aronofsky and written by Samuel D. Hunter, based on his 2012 play of the same name. Brendan Fraser received universal acclaim for his performance, which was widely seen as his career comeback. The Whale is about a reclusive English teacher who is severely obese and tries to restore his relationship with his teenage daughter.  I love Brendan Fraser and was happy to see him in such a brilliant film, which I absolutely loved.  Well done!

Charlie (Brendan Fraser) is a morbidly obese and reclusive English professor who teaches online college writing courses but keeps his webcam switched off, afraid to show his appearance to the students. Charlie is cared for by his nurse and only friend Liz (Hong Chau) who urges him to visit a hospital as he is at severe risk of congestive heart failure. He is also visited by Thomas (Ty Simpkins), a New Life Church missionary who tries to evangelize him. Charlie frequently orders pizza to which he and his delivery driver Dan (Sathya Sridharan) performs a repetitive routine of leaving the pizza on his porch, collecting the money from the mailbox, and leaving without ever interacting with Charlie.

The Whale is mostly about Charlie’s attempt to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter Ellie (Jacey Sink) whom he has not seen in eight years. Charlie offers her all the money in his bank account to persuade Ellie to spend time with him without her mother’s knowledge. Ellie agrees, but only if Charlie helps her rewrite an essay for school. Charlie agrees.

It’s apparent that Charlie is going through a host of emotions that have caused him to succumb to his present situation. He has feelings of guilt, along with depression, and is living in a serious situation for which he has no interest in changing.  He wants to make things right with his daughter who offers no mercy for his declining health.  It is painful to watch what obsessive weight can do to one’s body.  Every move is a struggle.  Despite Brenden’s outstanding acting abilities, the film received criticism for its portrayal of its morbidly obese main character. TIME Magazine explained the controversy stating, “Some of the film’s critics believe it perpetuates tired tropes of fat people as suffering, chronically depressed and binge eating”. On the podcast Don’t Let This Flop, EJ Dickson said the film was met with criticism for its use of a prosthetic suit instead of casting an obese actor, with accusations that it “stigmatizes and mocks fat people”. On NPR’s culture section, Jaclyn Diaz reported that this criticism extends to detractors calling the film’s premise “inherently dehumanizing”.

I think obesity has become more controversial than it should be due to bad feelings about the subject instead of looking at what it doing to you healthwise. The movie was excellent and brought up mixed emotions about Charlie, his daughter, his nurse, and his x wife.  The Whale grossed $13,191,971 domestically and worldwide. Rotten Tomatoes reported that critics found The Whale an empathetic film held together by a killer Brendan Fraser, The Whale sings a song of empathy that will leave most viewers blubbering. On the site, 66% of 254 critics’ reviews are positive, with an average rating of 6.7/10.  The audience says with a heartbreaking story brought powerfully to life by Brendan Fraser’s starring performance, The Whale‘s as hard to watch as it is to look away from. The Whale is currently playing in theaters — Check It Out!

[THE WHALE is Oscar-nominated for BEST: Actor, Actress in a Supporting Role, and Makeup and Hairstyling, totaling 3 nominations]

WON 2 Oscars for BEST ACTOR (Brandon Fraser) AND BEST MAKEUP AND HAIRSTYLING (Adrien Morot, Judy Chin, and Annemarie Bradley)



7 responses to “THE WHALE (2022) – My rating: 8.5/10

  1. I saw the preview and though that might be a good film.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have not seen this movie yet but I intend to. Thank you for a great review.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have not enjoyed this movie yet but will visit soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That is interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s