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
  • owenjmiddleton - 17 June 2024
    A whale of a good film
    Brendan Fraser as always excels this film being one of his better outings (yes yes I know you all love the mummy movies) this one is quite interesting apart from being filmed during covid which led to certain limitations in how the film was made it is very interesting and deals with quite a few social issues it deals also with interpersonal relationships I don't think this film would have been able to be made at any other time such as our willingness to deal with things such as body image and also broken relationships being something that simply can happen in any event the acting in this film is very good Brendan Fraser of course heading the cast did a wonderful job Sadie sink is also fantastic in this film hong chau is worth a definite mention as do both sathya Sridharan and Samantha Morton with these and many other great people in the Film the whale is in good hands.
  • imnotjohncandy - 20 April 2024
    Heartbreaking moving.
    After hearing all the buzz for this movie I have seen it and now I truly know it not just lives up to expectations but exceeds them, dear people who think this movie is fat isn't, it humanizes someone who is overweight and portrays them in a sympathetic way that doesn't villify them or make them the butt of the joke and I couldn't be any more in love with it.

    It's one of the more human portrayals of overweight people i've seen and if people are going to complain about this movie being fat phobic they either have a fat fetish themselves or are just hypocrites that can't face the facts.
  • fraser-simons - 14 March 2024
    Good performance, too explicit script
    This does what it sets out to do and has a fantastic performance in it, but I do miss the days when A-A-Ron could make things more intellectually interesting and complex, like The Fountain. But when you read the critic reviews of the film you can see why he's made really heavy handed things since. All of them didn't even get what the movie was about, and that was them doing their job. I remember coming out of The Matrix as a teenager and going to the washroom, only to hear some adults asking each other what the heck the movie was about. Yall are why we can't have nice things and instead have to have wildly explicit Disney movie endings.
  • 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.
  • scootm16 - 6 January 2023
    Brendan Gonna Scoop Up That Oscar Like Ice Cream
    For the past 10 years, one of my childhood friends and I have been wanting for Brendan Fraser comeback. Long before Keanu had his comeback with the 'John Wick' movies, and even before Matthew McConaughey's comeback with 'Lincoln Lawyer', 'Dallas Buyers' and 'Mud', my friend and I knew Brendan was great and that movies are missing his presence.

    FINALLY, in 2022, Darren Aranofsky gives us a character that allows Brendan to show off all his acting skills and release all that pent-up emotion he's had for the past many years. What Brendan gives us in 'The Whale' is his best performance to date, and easily the best performance of the year. Brendan deserves all the love and praise he's getting for this movie. Sadie Sink also should get a nomination for Supporting Actress since she killed it as well. I'm happy that a teen/child isn't portrayed like an obnoxious pos TikToker and is actually relatable and real.

    That being said, I found the actual movie and story pretty lackluster. You can feel that this movie is based off a play just by it's pacing and constrictiveness. It's slow, takes place in one room, half the characters' motives and dialogue are just not fully fleshed out. The nurse and missionary both give pretty wooden performances as well. The ending felt way too abrupt and should've had different direction to leave more of an impact.

    Overall, 'The Whale' is an average film carried by dynamite performances, especially from Mr. Fraser.

  • brianjohnson-20043 - 3 January 2023
    Excellent character story.
    I enjoyed this film a lot. It didn't seem perfect. Especially the last 20 or so minutes. But I found the story very compelling, and if you ask me, the story is nearly always the most important part of a movie's construction. The acting of Brendan Fraser might be overblown as the key or best part about this film. He did a fine job. But I thought the entire cast was fine and that Brendan has received a lot of love because he was so visually transformed for the role and his character is so central to the storytelling and is given so many opportunities to demonstrate deep emotions over the course of the runtime.

    There are a few interesting story reveals which I thought were disguised pretty well so the typical audience member might not predict the outcome. The directing choice as well to have the movie in a 4 to 3 aspect ratio seemed to support the movie effectively. Not only did it help with the framing for certain closeup shots. It also helped envelop the viewer into the narrow world in which this story takes place and keeps focus on the characters within the narrative as opposed to providing a lot of background space to distract from the characters.

    One other note for the film. The sound and score were typically subtle and a good supportive part to the storytelling. A lot of times brash and garish music is applauded by reviewers when IMO it's too much and a distraction and detriment. This film probably doesn't have a lot of people commenting on the music and sound. But that doesn't mean that it wasn't good and effective for the movie. I felt it fit really well. Overall the movie is great. You just might not want to watch it if you're in the mood for something cheerful, light or fun. You ought to be in the mood for a serious drama if you're going to watch this and appreciate it.
  • andymjay - 1 January 2023
    How to Squander a Great Performance in a Cinematic Failure
    The performance of Mr. Fraser as Charlie was masterful and deserving of an award with the other performances average at best. The special effects were first class. Beyond these 2 elements which were clear from the beginning there was no reason to sit through this grotesque portrait of the slow and ugly suicide of a human being. The reason is because I felt nothing for him or for his family. I did not detect a shred of anything in his character as revealed on the screen that prompted an emotional response other than disgust.

    I am totally perplexed as to why this pretentious film was made and ask the director and writer what were they trying to achieve other than provide the opportunity for Mr. Fraser to win an Oscar. On this point I suspect the worst and it concerns the possibility that this is some kind of weird effort to normalize ugly mediocrity in the itself not such an unusual thing in today's distorted world where pursuit of excellence and nobility is openly discouraged.

    Let's consider some of the ludicrous themes perhaps intended as redemptive. Firstly, Charlie is an incognito online writing instructor whose greatest wisdom is to gotta write what you really feel ....big deal... there is nothing interesting about this man. Secondly, he is trying to reconnect with his daughter Ellie, promising her money all the while with a kind of absurd, smirking optimism, subjecting this young person to watching his disgusting protracted suicide. Had he instead offed himself quickly and efficiently leaving his family the money after writing a heartfelt apology, I just may have felt something for him. Thirdly, he struggles to move his body mass into the bedroom shrine of his gay relationship which destroyed his family... this along with with the white light deification at the end and the Contact like other worldly beach scene is sheer nonsense. Lastly, the annoying whale metaphor referencing Melville's great classical work of Moby Dick serves only as a contrast with the failed writing behind this film.

    The side plots in the film including the inexplicable behavior of his medical helper who for some time has been complicit in his suicide, the young man Thomas who achieves reconnection with his family in some perverse way due to Charlie's daughter pursuit of "truth"...and of course the poor suffering wife who at the end falls into his hulking mass....all of these including the ever present unnecessary gay sex intonations do nothing to remedy the central flaws of this film.

    If all of this is about the evils of shaming and how this man achieves a religious epiphany at the end, I suggest the real truth is that what he is and what he is doing is in fact largely disgusting and shameful and any hope of redemption for him can only come, if there is reincarnation, in the next life.

    At an early point in the film I wondered if suddenly Charlie will really see the light and at least try to live by getting serious medical attention as a first step.... he could still die at the end but with a last gasp of do the right thing. After all, there are actual cases where his amount of weight has been substantially reduced. Alas, such a truly redemptive plot is not in the mind of the writer. Instead, the torture continued with my increasing regret in coming to the theatre on a rainy night to watch this debacle.
  • unifiedfield-76330 - 31 December 2022
    How we mute our own light.
    I just saw this at a preview screening tonight, New Year's Eve. The central character of Charlie is a gentle, beautiful, intelligent and authentic soul in many ways, an English teacher who extolls the virtues of honesty, objectivity and authenticity to his students, but who is, in my view, devastatingly unable to apply these principles to how he views himself, and those he has lost, nor does he view his own continued existence as sacred, nor as a gift. His inability to move on, and his own self destruction through grief-fuelled addiction, is a powerful and important work of art. How many of us have been broken-hearted at the inability of those we love to see themselves as we see them, in all their beauty? How many of us have lost and idealized those we love, and then have lost ourselves to grief and addiction? This was a film which needed to be made, and needs to be seen. This is also a film about damaged familial relationships, and how these shape the people our children become. Amazing, the writer, director and cast deserve everything coming their way, and I am really glad to see Mr. Fraser's return to the public domain with this incredible comeback performance.
  • meganbrennan-74179 - 28 December 2022
    This movie was not, I repeat NOT, about marine life. I was expecting at LEAST one blowhole, but was met with disappointment and an inconsolable friend. Do not, I once again repeat, DO JOT bring your emotionally unstable companions with daddy issues to see this film. The two stars come from the fact that there was a beach and mention of a whale. If you do not like obesity, whales, or poetry, I do not recommend this movie. However, I must say, Tom Hanks have an outstanding performance. He should be awarded a Grammy for this. Oprah's character felt a little overdone. Heck, what else is there to say?
  • lmhabig-26188 - 26 December 2022
    Brendan Fraser as you've never seen him before
    First of all, I've been a fan of Brendan Frasier since the 90's. I always felt his acting chops were underutilized in some of the movies he did, but this was's hard to come up with the words. This was the most emotionally dedicated performance I've seen from an actor in many, many years and showcases Fraser's immense and expansive acting abilities.

    I know he was rejected from Hollywood because of accusations he made against someone, and I find that shameful. To see him come back like this role...the way he did makes my heart incredibly happy! Not many actors could pull of a roll like this, but Brendan Fraser managed it...and managed it beautifully!

    I am very in touch with people who are bullied and people who feel hopeless/helpless, so needless to say, this movie tore my heart and I left the theater in tears.

    Fraser's emotionally charged scenes with the actress who played his daughter...his vulnerability and willingness to go so far as to pay her to spend time with him was incredible. It was raw, open, and painful. Charlie possess something few people have these days...humanity. He made mistakes in his relationship with his daughter and was completely forgiving of her terrible behavior...even when she drugged him. The scenes with his helper and his ex-wife were explicitly and painfully executed. The pain that this family felt at the disintegration of their relationships was raw and it was real. Fraser's facial expressions and delivery of his lines only heightened the emotional pull.

    Over all, it was absolutely fantastic. Welcome back, Brendan Fraser!!