Brendan Fraser Delivers a Stunning Performance in 'The Whale'

Directed by Darren Aronofsky

Starring Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, Samantha Morton

Photo courtesy of TIFF

BY Rachel HoPublished Dec 20, 2022

Darren Aronofsky's latest shows the effects of grief and trauma on a man and those closest to him. After suffering a significant loss in his life, Charlie (Brendan Fraser) self-medicates himself through depression by eating. As Charlie's weight increases to 600-plus pounds, he becomes a recluse, finding it difficult to move around without assistance and also struggling with how others may perceive him.

Based on a play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter, the central theme of The Whale focuses on the helpless loss of control one feels after a tremendous loss — and it does so with devastating effectiveness. It also taps into the dangers of extreme religion, the power of friendship and family, and the honesty we all require to live life to the fullest, giving each theme the time and respect it deserves.

Much has been said about Fraser's performance since The Whale debuted at the Venice Film Festival, and they're all true. He brings a sensitivity and dignity to the film where others may have played the audience for pity or comedy. Hong Chau and Sadie Sink both offer incredible performances as well, in difficult and complex roles.

The Whale is unlike anything Aronofsky or Fraser have done on screen. There's a simplicity to the film as a single-location production that highlights the writing and performances.

It will be a difficult film for many to take in, and it has already drawn its share of controversy for its depiction of obesity. But it will also be a film that speaks to many in a visceral and moving way.
(Elevation Pictures)

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