The Whale Austin Film Festival Review

October 31, 202280/1001105 min
Starring
Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins
Written by
Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by
Darren Aronofsky
Run Time
1h 57min
Release Date
December 9th, 2022
Overall Score
Rating Summary

         If  you were to ever sit back and think about life, for most it can be difficult some days can even be a challenge to do the most mundane things. For others though, life is very difficult and it is easy to withdraw from the world as no one would really notice that they are gone. In Darren Aronofsky’s new film The Whale  we meet Charlie (Brendan Fraser), as man who after a tragedy wanted to hide from the world and after his choice of self-medication thought he had no choice but to remain hidden.

          For Charlie that tragedy was the loss of the love of his life. Charlie had always been a bigger guy, but that loss and his turning to food for comfort has made his life difficult to do anything but stay home. Money isn’t a problem because as a teacher Charlie can teach online, claiming his camera doesn’t work. The only person who sees Charlie is his friend Liz (Hong Chau), who is also a nurse and keeps an eye on his health. That though has become a problem and Charlie refuses to go to a hospital, saying that he can’t afford it. A hospital visit though is the only thing that can save his life, a life it seems he doesn’t think is worth saving. Charlie gets few visitors, other than the pizza delivery guy, but one day a missionary named Thomas (Ty Simpkins) stops by and the moment he does, he believes he has a calling to save Charlie’s soul. Charlie doesn’t care about that, but for the rest of the week Thomas comes daily to keep trying. This life wasn’t all Charlie knows, he once was married and has a daughter named Ellie (Sadie Sink), who he left in a selfish way in order to follow his new love. Time though is not on Charlie’s side and he tries to make amends before his clock runs out.

Based on a play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter, The Whale  is a moving and sometimes ruthless drama. Shot entirely in one location, we have no choice but to live in Charlie’s world, which feels so dramatic and desperate. Although on the outside Charlie looks like he has given up, but deep down he believes in humanity and he is empathetic and has a kind heart. While he hides from the judgement of the world, he tries and help people reach their full protentional, while searching for honesty.

               The Whale is a masterfully composed piece of emotional cinema that not only is a grueling examination of faith, but in humanity as well. Fraser is simply unrecognizable and he is the reason The Whale is such a memorable experience.  He manages the role perfectly, where he encapsulates great emotion and even under the prosthetic make up his  humanity shines through. He is just one factor though, and the film as whole  is profound, brutal, and really an unforgettable sight to behold.

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