The Whale Review: Is Brendan Fraser’s New Movie Worth A Watch?

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The Whale Review
The Whale

The Whale is an award-winning American psychological drama movie directed by Darren Aronofsky. This movie is based on a play (by the same name) written by Samuel D. Hunter. The story revolves around an English professor dealing with congestive heart failure that is due to his obesity. Till the end, he only hopes to rebuild the relationship and reconnect with his teenage daughter, whom he hasn’t seen for 8 years. 

Brendan Fraser played the lead role in the movie and was nominated for Golden Globes, SAG Awards, BAFTAs, and Oscars for the movie. He also won The Critics Choice Award in January 2023. Fraser also received a 6-minute standing ovation for his amazing performance in The Whale at the Venice Film Festival.

  • Movie name – The Whale
  • Directed by – Darren Aronofsky
  • Produced by – Jeremy Dawson, Ari Handel, Darren Aronofsky
  • Release Date – 4 September 2022 (Venice Film Festival)
  • Box Office Collection – $24.4 Million
  • Where to watch – Prime VideoApple TV

Also read: The Stranger Review: Is It Worth A Watch?

The Whale Star Cast

The Whale is a drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and written by Samuel D. Hunter, based on his 2012 play of the same name. The plot of story revolves around an obese guy named Charlie, played by Brendan Fraser, who only wishes to reconnect with his daughter, played by Sadie Sink.

The film also features Liz, played by Hong Chau, as his close friend and a nurse who takes care of him till his last breath. The other supporting stars are Ty Simpkins as Thomas, Samantha Morton as Mary, and Sathya Sridharan as Dan, the pizza guy who frequently used to deliver pizza to him but had only seen him once.

The Whale movie cast
Starring Samuel D. Hunter, Sadie Sink, Darren Aronofsky, Hong Chau, and Brendan Fraser during Venice Film Festival (Credits- The Hindu)

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The Whale Plot

The plot tells the story of an obese man named Charlie, who is roughly about 600 pounds due to. He is also suffering from congestive heart failure, and he is also informed by his friend Liz that he won’t be able to live past the end of the week. In the initial scenes, we can see that Charlie is an English professor who conducts online classes and never turns on his camera as he’s insecure regarding his weight. 

Liz takes great care of him and even advises her every minute that he should get the treatment done as being in debt is better than being dead, but he says that he has no money and he’s fine with whatever’s happening. Apart from this, we can always spot him reading one of his favorite essays, Captain Ahab’s search for a great white whale, from the novel Moby-Dick or, The Whale, written by Herman Melville. 

Charlie frequently endures chest pains due to his overeating, but that’s something he just can’t control even after trying a lot. Liz always helps Charlie and spends most of her time, energy, and effort on him. She always asks him to get treatment, but he always has the same reason that he doesn’t have enough money. In actuality, he does have over 100,000 dollars in his bank account saved for his daughter, which Liz doesn’t know about it. 

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Ellie from The Whale
Ellie from The Whale (Credits: Screen Rant)

One day her daughter, Ellie, comes to see him, and we can see that she doesn’t treat her nicely at all because, according to her, he is selfish and left her mother and Elli when she was young for another guy. Still, she decides to stay and talk to him in condition for him to complete her assignments and money.

Later, when Thomas, a missionary for the New life church, comes, he tells him about his ideas and how he can get saved. Still, here we understand that Charlie isn’t interested in being saved, and he has accepted the reality that is his upcoming death.

Liz gets annoyed with Thomas coming now and then and tells him that he’s going to die eventually and doesn’t need any of his help. Later, she tells him that her late brother Alan, who was also a partner of Charlie, died because of his father, and due to his death, Charlie developed an eating disorder and started binge eating without any self-control. Despite this, he thought that he could help him.

One day when Ellie comes to see Charlie, she secretly puts sleeping pills in his sandwich, which makes him sleep. After this, Thomas arrives, and Ellie starts interrogating him and says that she knows that he isn’t part of the missionary.

Then they smoke marijuana, and he confesses to Ellie that he has stolen money from Church and ran away from home, and the whole time, Elle was recording this conversation. Later, Liz brings Mary, Ellie’s mother, and after a few minutes, it is revealed to Liz that Charlie does have money in his bank account but for Ellie. After hearing this, Liz gets hurt and leaves the house.

Mary and Charlie talk about their failures and their neglectful parenting. He tries convincing Mary that Ellie is a good child and wants to make sure that Ellie is living a good life after he’s gone. While she was leaving, Charlie said with tears in his eyes that he was hoping that Ellie would be the reassurance he needed to know that he had done something good in life.

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Charlie's appearance from The Whale
A still from The Whale (Credits: Good Morning America)

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After this, when Dan comes to deliver the pizza, he catches a glimpse of Charlie for the first time, and by the reaction, he sees Dan, he starts binge-watching again. Thomas comes to tell him that, in a way, Ellie has helped him, and he’s going back home.

When Thomas starts advising Charlie that Alan died because he chose him and not God and how he can still be saved. After hearing this, he really gets hurt, and later, during his online, he chooses to show himself to his students, and later, he throws the laptop away.

Later a while, Liz comes and comforts Charlie as he experiences near death. A few minutes later, Ellie comes to their house to confront Charlie about his rewritten essay. Charlie asks her to read, and it is the same essay she wrote when she was in eighth grade, and he thinks that this is the most honest essay he has ever read.

She reluctantly reads the essay with tears in her eyes, and then Charlie tries to stand and walk towards her without help successfully, which he was unable to do before. When Ellie finishes reading, Charlie starts to float, and at the end, we can see a bright light and a memory of their family visiting the beach.

The Whale Review

The Whale is an incredible experience that you wouldn’t want to miss. Darren Aronofsky did an amazing job in creating this masterpiece. The actors also performed marvelously, especially Brendan Fraser. The storyline was good, and it can keep you glued to the screen. We could easily see how uneasy it made Charlie when he used to get stares from people.

He started living with the truth that nobody likes him. Also, he used to conduct lectures online rather than offline just so nobody could see him. Spending most of his time at home, we could see and feel his insecurities coming out of the screen. In reality, we could feel all he tried to convey.

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The eating disorder was something he didn’t choose on his own, but the trauma of his partner dying and his unable to do anything regarding that provoked him. We can see Charlie sometimes trying to control this habit of his, but we all know how hard it is to control such disorders.

Speaking of Ellie, we can understand her perspective. Also, her dad left her for someone else when she was just eight years old. She was always mean to Charlie and never treated him well, but she went through hard times in which she wasn’t at fault but still suffered. No child deserves that, and somewhere Charlie knows that Ellie is like this because of what happened in the past between their parents.

She desired her parent’s love and support, but she got nothing as her mother was an alcoholic and paid not enough attention to her, and had no contact with her father. This was not clearly her fault that she was like the way she was. Apart from this, we can see Charlie’s immense and unconditional love for his daughter, Ellie.

We all have our fears, right? We also get insecure sometimes so does Charlie. This movie reflects part of ourselves that we might be scared to show the world and embrace. Apart from this, Liz did a lot for Charlie, even knowing the fact that he wouldn’t be able to pay back.

Here I believe that he should’ve done something for her, and a small amount of money would’ve helped as well, but he saved everything for his daughter, who didn’t care enough for him. The movie was really good and shows how people judge other people based on a lot many things and how tough it is for a person to go through such things. 

Our Rating

Our conclusion for the movie The Whale is that it’s an amazing movie and an incredible experience one would want to have for sure. This movie addresses important issues, and you’ll love it for sure.

Our Rating: ⭐ (4/5).

Also read: Smile Review: Is It Worth A Watch?

By Priyanka Pawar

Priyanka is an enthusiast who loves to explore and learn new things. She's curious about everything and isn't afraid to try new things, even if they're a little bit scary. She's been told that she has a "can-do" attitude, which is great because she never stops.

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