Brendan Fraser delivers one of his best performances in years in The Whale. His performance displays human emotions to the core. Director Darren Aronofsky has an eye for directing brilliant films based on honest feelings. The Whale is Aronofsky’s most humanistic film, and it will touch his audiences. The message of how time is of the essence in our one precious life truly resonates.
The challenges of obesity and health problems play a major role in The Whale. Some moments in the film may seem repulsive regarding this difficult subject matter. With Fraser as the lead character who struggles with weight problems, he plays the role of suffering and feeling alone brilliantly. The Whale is a race for the one who is obese to find light in his life. The light may not have the best anticipated outcomes, but it serves to benefit others in the film.
In The Whale, Fraser plays Charlie, a remote English teacher in Idaho. Charlie chooses to work from home because of his morbid obesity. His caretaker is his friend Liz (played by Hong Chau). She helps Charlie with his meals and other essential tasks. Charlie cannot do a lot by himself because he is dangerously overweight. He also continues to eat unhealthy foods and has been in a bad mental state of mind for some time. There is one thing Charlie cares about which is his daughter Ellie (played by Sadie Sink). Aronofsky’s directing is superb in displaying the disconnect between father and daughter. Ellie resents Charlie because he abandoned her, and Charlie resents himself. The Whale is a landscape of Charlie’s errors, and his obesity is the epitome of his struggles. Aronofsky is not afraid to direct films with deep emotions.
Charlie’s suffering in his home is filled with difficult feelings. The audience can see each fragment of his unhealthy life. They also see his struggles with Ellie and Liz. Will Charlie ever find a way to get his act together? Will he ever try to lose weight and adopt a healthy lifestyle? Many of these questions are hard ones and the film covers many hard health-related situations caused by poor life choices. As someone who has had issues with my own weight and mental health, The Whale hit close to home for me. Yet, I felt quite moved by the film.
In the end, I thought The Whale was deep in human emotions. Fraser’s performance was spellbinding, and the directing was filled with raw feelings. The Whale is a triumph, a ride of brilliance and love. Three and a half stars.