The Whale

A reclusive English teacher suffering from severe obesity attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.

  • Released:
  • Runtime: 117 minutes
  • Genre: Drama
  • Stars: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Samantha Morton, Ty Simpkins, Hong Chau, Sathya Sridharan, Huck Milner, Ryan Heinke, Ryan Heinke, Huck Milner, Jacey Sink
  • Director: Darren Aronofsky
 Comments
  • herbdavey-12055 - 12 January 2023
    Powerful and Touching Film
    I absolutely loved this film. I saw it alone and I'm glad I did. When the closing credits started rolling, the music and vibe was amazing, but I had to leave the theater right away. I really wanted to sit there longer and digest because I was so touched by the film. I rarely cry in films. :)

    I thought the acting top to bottom was amazing. Obviously Brendan Fraser, but I was really taken by Sadie Sink too.

    I love that it all took place in one setting as well. The apartment. That's hard to do and just a reflection of how powerful a film it was. And the opening sequence when it showed the black screen for him as the professor was super creative and effective.

    Great great film and I hope it wins some Oscars. Brendan should definitely win one, but I hear there's some controversy so maybe he won't. Otherwise, I would place a bet on him.
  • sarahmorgaaaan - 11 January 2023
    Beautiful
    I think that it is going to be the best or one of the best movies of 2022-2023 it was just so beautifully made congratulations. The movie felt very intimate and for once to have a storyline where the main character isn't just lost man who just wants to end he's and only sees the world black or white is refreshing. Brendan Fraser was just outstanding, I always knew that he was a brilliant actor no doubt but really this movie made me love him even more. I hope he'll continue acting and serve us more of these beautiful movies. Again congratulations on the film and everybody on it and behind it.

    Thank you.
  • cgearheart - 11 January 2023
    A mean version of The Wrestler (2008)
    I had an incredibly hard time knowing what to write for this movie, but after giving it some long and hard thought, I'm torn. Brendan Fraser gives a career best performance and hits all the right notes, as does the rest of the cast. The issue for me was how the material was handled. I heard so many critics saying how "kind" and "empathetic" this movie was and how it was Aronofsky's first movie since The Wrestler to accomplish such a thing. The only thing I can say is that this movie is basically a carbon copy of The Wrestler, right down to the ending, but it was anything but empathetic and kind. Unfortunately, one of my biggest complaints of this movie was how mean spirited it was. The only kindness we really get is from Fraser's Charlie. Even Simpkin's ever sweet character succumbs to cruelty. I also understand that the filmmakers want so bad to show food as an addiction, but it got way too over the top. The whole movie, even down to the title, feels more or less like a sideshow attraction to Fraser's character. Plain and simple, it's as much a dramatic character story as it is a deeply cynical body horror film. I'm disappointed.

    C.
  • jenniferleemorrison - 11 January 2023
    SNUBBED by the Golden Globe Awards
    Brendan deserves every award possible for his role in The Whale and the Hollywood Foreign Press just added insult to injury.

    I am an advide film watcher and this movie had such an impact on me that I could not even leave the theater once the film ended. If you are not a compassionate or empathic person, I feel you may not understand the need to just sit and appreciate the story that was shared.

    This film is not just a story, it is an opportunity to see through a man's eyes that has lost everything he loved and then lost himself.

    Truly the best film and Brendan was BRILLIANT!

    Bring tissues!
  • lolyfe-20868 - 10 January 2023
    Not a "Feel good" movie!
    I cannot explain what mood you should be in, to truly appreciate this film. But its definitely not the typical trash that hollywood has been churning out lately. Be ready with a pocketfull of tissues.

    What starts as a slow low budget drama, begins to get uncomfortable halfway in and continues to pick up emotional steam as it goes on. Last time I remember a movie with such impact while basically filming its entirety in one room was "Glengary Glen Ross". And that one was packed with stars. Frazier carries the load in this one.

    Intense. Well worth the ticket price. Brendan should see an award this year.
  • styliano-87243 - 10 January 2023
    11/10: As real as it gets
    I don't write reviews very often but when powerful movies such as this one come out, it's my duty to support them and what they represent in general ( hope for Hollywood).

    The film is shot at one location, with a very small cast and it touches a lot of important themes such as obesity, homosexuality and religion. Yet the movie goes beyond these themes and manages to radiate a whole blend of AMBIVALENT EMOTIONS through the depiction of reality. For example the of feeling disgust against obesity is contradicted with empathy for the victim of obesity. Similarly, dislike towards malevolent people vs optimism and understanding for their ulterior motives.

    Lastly, when you read about Brendan's 10min standing ovation naturally wonder whether or not this is an exaggeration. Well, all I can say is that open your heart and enjoy one of the best performances you'll ever see.
  • DanHurledonBurt - 9 January 2023
    Stage play, empathy workout
    I watched it with the reminder that I was watching a stage play. Someone else wrote that which helped me appreciate and remember that the focus was on the characters and the limits of what I would be shown. This focusing thought helped me put myself inside that box verse waiting to get away from my discomfort of the tight intimate space. Course I'm the sort of person who never feels like knowing the plot spoils anything but in this story I think not knowing what happened did make it all the better. I would say the whole movie culminated into a beautiful ending which I'm only revealing as this review is apparently too short. I did like his message about caring and it wrapped up nicely in his daughter's essay which shared how sad she was when she found someone hiding their loneliness. That was the nice reveal that left me in a lot tears, that the daughter was just lonely and sad vs the label of evil that the mother had boxed her in with. The movie also gave me a lot to think about such as how the different characters struggled with their inability to stop caring, even with the various distractions they hid in. Thank you for the movie everyone who worked on it, and also the play which I now want to go see 👍
  • holarsch - 9 January 2023
    Wow
    Went into this movie with only a hint of what the storyline might hold in store. It was such a riveting script that had us spellbound from the opening scene. It had the feeling of a Broadway Show that had been adapted for the screen. However, the performances made this one of the best motion pictures that we have seen in a long time. Brendan Fraser is brilliant as are all the other performances in this brilliant movie. This was a really wonderful way to start off the new year. Kudos! Darren Aronofsky has done it again by creating a masterpiece for the screen once again. We are hoping that this movie is nominated for many Academy Awards.
  • hurledonburt - 9 January 2023
    Stage play, not knowing what happened
    I watched it with the reminder that I was watching a stage play. Someone else wrote that which helped me appreciate and remember that the focus was on the characters and the limits of what I would be shown. Which helped me put myself inside that box verse waiting to get away from my discomfort of the tight intimate space. Course I'm the sort of person who never feels like knowing the plot spoils anything but in this story I think not knowing what happened did make it all the better. I would say the whole movie culminated into a beautiful ending which I'm only revealing as this review is apparently too short. I did like his message about caring and it wrapped up nicely in his daughter's essay which showed how sad she got for someone else's loneliness. That was the nice reveal that left me in a lot tears. Thank you for the movie everyone who worked on it, and also the play which I now want to go see 👍
  • richmondh - 9 January 2023
    Painful...but worth the watch.
    I went into this movie expecting an incredible performance by Brendan Fraser and his co-stars. I did not expect to have so much of our current culture challenged. I don't think any spoilers aheads...but will mark it spoilers to be safe.

    This movie, like literature or poems or song lyrics, I think has to be interpreted by each person that watches it. I am sure many people will get many different things out of it.

    This tackles our culture of living live in front of a screen, obesity, out of control health costs, adultery, religion, homosexuality, complex and hurtful relationships, etc.

    What I got out of it is that primarily the main character through being hurt and hurting others had learned that life is about loving and caring for others and forgiving each other for the mistakes we make.

    It should win multiple Oscars IMO.
  • itrevorallen - 8 January 2023
    Emotionally Heavy w/ an Incredible Lead Actor
    I don't know that I am capable of writing a review good enough to capture this movie's depth but I'll try. The entire movie is devastating and holds no punches, the tragic tale addresses one of the only forms of addiction we as a society seem to have deemed unacceptable to accept/understand. Instead, treating it as if it were a disgusting choice made by those who suffer from it. While mental health and substance abuse have become movements we strife to improve upon, food addiction is treated as though the person is simply lazy or stupid. I'm sure most of us, myself included, are guilty of those subconscious thoughts.

    This isn't a lecture but I ensure you this isn't the case with food addiction. If you believe it is take the time to google leptin resistance, epigenetic role in obesity (ob gene), and the various forms of microbiome development.. This is my request as an obese medical student who finds himself in awkward positions and feeling like a hypocrite in many patient interactions.

    Beyond the looming subject of food addiction the film further interwinds the treatment of the LGBTQ+ community and how religion participates in the historical treatment of those within the community. The relationships Charlie forms with his friends and family and even random strangers. Such as Dan the pizza man, who is friendly and kind until the day he seems Charlie, at which time all of which changes. Or his students, who upon a face reveal instead of being kind or even normal, appear disgusted or as if they want to snicker at his appearance.

    There is likely a great deal of symbolism I am missing in the film. Such as the bird and its plate, which then break just prior to Charlie's death. If you haven't, watch the movie for yourself.

    Acting: 10/10 Story: 10/10 Emotion: 10/10 Effects: - No need.

    Cinematography: 10/10, overly simple, boring, dark, all of which add to the film's purpose.
  • matthew-08113 - 8 January 2023
    Better than I expected, but it has a few issues
    I had reservations about seeing this movie. I worried this would be a prestige version of My 600-Lb Life. Instead, I found a compelling, character-driven story. Brendan Fraser deserves all the praise he's been getting for this role. He poignantly shows the pain of a broken man who's aware of his fate and wants to use the little time he knows is left to reconnect with his estranged daughter (played by Sadie Sink).

    Hong Chau also does a magnificent job as Liz, his friend, nurse, caregiver-and enabler. She portrays the challenges of taking care of someone who refuses to take care of themselves. As someone who had to take care of a disabled mom, I relate to this character.

    The movie has several issues. It looks more like a filmed play instead of a movie. Even the set looks like it belongs on a stage. Also, the connections between characters are too neat, especially with the "New Life Church." A few twists seem contrived.

    The movie is worth seeing for Brendan Fraser's performance. He compels us to look beyond his outward appearance to see the humanity within.
  • eli-88690 - 8 January 2023
    An outstanding work or art
    I found it to be an exceptional and groundbreaking work of art. A heart-wrenching journey of hope and faith with one of the most intense spiritual breakthrough scenes of any film I've seen. The Whale is the Rain Man of morbid obesity.

    I found it to be an exceptional and groundbreaking work of art. A heart-wrenching journey of hope and faith with one of the most intense spiritual breakthrough scenes of any film I've seen. The Whale is the Rain Man of morbid obesity.

    I found it to be an exceptional and groundbreaking work of art. A heart-wrenching journey of hope and faith with one of the most intense spiritual breakthrough scenes of any film I've seen. The Whale is the Rain Man of morbid obesity.
  • bensam-73923 - 8 January 2023
    Simplicity makes for reality!
    This movie keeps it simple, and in doing so really lets you get to know the characters. The fact that the movie was this good when it all took place in one room is incredible. While the writing the was certainly great, this movie was carried on the shoulders of Brendan Fraser. He kept you watching every scene. The suit and makeup for his obesity was great. His scenes almost make you want to cry. These character all suffer from past and present sins. Even if you don't deal with the same sins, these characters feel very real, and you are sympathetic towards each of them although they are messed up in different ways. This movie is full of small heartfelt moments that make the movie. Fraser's breakdown in front of his ex-wife, his depressed eating spree, and the last minute of the movie were standouts for me. The depressed eating stood out because it showed how a complete stranger and small interactions can have a huge impact on people. This is very real and happens in the workplace. But this pizza guy who should've known that Charlie was fat by all the pizza he brings, looks as if he saw bigfoot when he sees Charlie for the first time. And this is what tips Charlie into full suicidal again after trying hard to make some connection with his daughter. While Simpkins and Chau did very solid in their roles, Sadie Sink was the other standout performance. What seems like an unrealistically naive teenager feels real with her performance. Yes, I realize I keep saying real, but that is what drove this movie: emotions. All her evil acts that would sound over the top on paper, worked with her performance. And the breakdown in the last scene was the best climax. People do care.