Film Review – The Whale

The Whale (M)

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Starring: Brendan Fraser, Hong Chau, Sadie Sink

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Review by: Julian Wright

Funny-man Brendan Fraser sinks his teeth into a devastatingly dramatic role in one of the greatest acting comebacks in years.

Morbidly obese English teacher Charlie (Brendan Fraser) is house-bound, alone, teaches classes via Zoom with his camera off and is on the verge of death.

His only friend and regular visitor is Liz (Hong Chau).

As Charlie’s deteriorating health indicates that he has merely days left to live, he tries to reconnect with his bitter teenage daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink) and make amends with his ex-wife Mary (Samantha Morton).

This claustrophobic character study borders on depressing, but Fraser is such a pure and wonderful presence that he is able to radiate humanity through the layers of makeup and fat suit.

In one of his very rare dramatic roles, Fraser is able to emotionally wreck an unsuspecting audience

Try as he might with dramatic lighting (you almost need a torch to see anything on screen) and camera movement, director Darren Aronofsky cannot mask the fact that this is based on a play.

It is only in the final moments of a powerhouse climax that will have you sobbing uncontrollably that Aronofsky takes the dramatics a little too far and slips into melodrama.

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