The Whale – Movie Review
Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writer: Samuel D Hunter (Screenplay)
- Brendan Fraser (The Mummy)
- Sadie Sink (Dear Zoe)
- Ty Simpkins (Insidious)
- Hong Chau (The Menu)
- Samantha Morton (She Said)
Plot: A reclusive, morbidly obese English teacher attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter.
Runtime: 1 Hour 57 Minutes
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: The Whale starts as we meet the reclusive, morbidly obese English teacher Charlie (Fraser). He operates in his apartment, keeping his webcam off as he tries to inspire a new generation of writers. However, his nurse Liz (Chau) believes he doesn’t have much time left and wants him to hospital.
Charlie refuses and decides to use his remaining time trying to reconnect with his estranged daughter Ellie (Sink). As Charlie tries to fix his relationship, he shows kindness in him, despite the pain he has been through. Charlie gets caught up in a position of wanting to leave one lasting legacy on the world.
Verdict on The Whale
Charlie is a morbidly obese English teacher who teaches online classes from his apartment. He only gets two visitors, his close friend and nurse Liz and a delivery guy who never sees him. Charlie gained weight after a close personal loss which has seen him becoming so isolated. He wants to make up with his estranged daughter, who has started to go off the tracks. Charlie wants to save her before it is too late.
Liz is Charlie’s only friend and nurse, she constantly pushes him to go to the hospital. She has a connection with Charlie and will do everything to help him however much it hurts her to see him slowly dying.
Ellie is Charlie’s estranged daughter who hasn’t seen Charlie for nearly ten years. She has been failing high school and doesn’t want to accept Charlie’s help. However, deep down she has become isolated herself. She is aggressive toward Charlie, blaming him for everything that has gone wrong in her life, always looking to expose people’s weaknesses.
Thomas is a local missionary who manages to save Charlie’s life. He sees it as his calling to help Charlie despite coming from the same group that took so much from him.
Brendan Fraser is phenomenal in the leading role, he brings so much emotion to a character facing his own fate. This is going to be his best-ever performance to date and it is clear why he has been nominated for an Oscar.
Hong Chau has also been nominated for an Oscar for her performance. She is brilliant too showing the caring nature of her character, despite her frustrations. Sadie Sink continues to show how talented the young star is, following on from Stranger Things superstardom.
The Whale follows a reclusive English teacher who is facing his own mortality. He wants to rebuild his relationship with his daughter before he goes. However, this becomes more difficult than he was expecting.
This is a story that dives into what is to face one’s own mortality. It shows us just how people will try to fix and make up for their mistakes to make sure the people left behind have everything they need. The different characters he interacts with offer different points of view of what is happening next. This leads to his kind nature coming through, as he wants to help everyone.
When you look at this movie from an English point of view. It can become more frustrating due to the main reason Charlie doesn’t go for medical help. The fact it costs too much, showing the movie has another message about how the medical system in America is flawed. There are also a couple of holes in the story and an ending that leaves you to decide what you think happened.
Final Thoughts – The Whale has one of the best performances of the year in a moving drama.