The Whale Review

The Whale
The Whale
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Darren Aronofsky seems to be a director that is obsessed with extremity. In Black Swan, he shows how far one can go to achieve perfection. Requiem For A Dream showed how low an addict can get. The Whale had extreme features in its presentation of Charlie played by Brendan Fraser who through his size and his solitariness surpassed the human borders. What’s intriguing is that the most touching moments of this film – and Charlie — aren’t discovered in astonishing scenes, but the mundane ones.

The title, the box office magnet or object of desire is Charlie’s physique, which comes across convincingly with dehumanizing prosthesis (though they still remain inherently so). He is really extremely fat. His belly hangs over his trousers’ waistband. His neck buries his jawline. It opens up with him flinchingly masturbating; we see him naked under running water in a bathroom. Aronofsky directs — and Samuel D Hunter’s script from his own play — both evinces quite some sympathy for Charlie but cannot help but use it as spectacle due to its inability to resist exploiting his size too much.The movie sees her fatness as something bad right from the start: it is a point of pity, judgment, explanation… On the other hand while the supporting actors do not fall into these categories, the movie does little to consider sensationalism around people like Charlie in real life and how this adds onto their trauma…..

However, more interesting than anything else about Charlie are actually some of his habits such as ordering pizza each night whilst hiding from its delivery person; telling students that he broke down on purpose so they don’t have look at him; eating unhealthily which has nothing to do with food yet everything about how badly he feels inside himself.Just as The Whale does not venture far into redefining obesity within its narrative structure; it however makes up for that by portraying the unceasing, oppressive experience of disordered eating.

However, The Whale is most weighed down by its origins as a stage play and the translation from theater to screen. The one location works in conveying Charlie’s loneliness but the cold color scheme and lack of visual diversity does become monotonous after a while. Time devoted to Thomas’ (Ty Simpkins) missionary work subplot feels like it has been wasted and his backstory is easily the least interesting aspect of this film.

Undoubtedly, it is Brendan Fraser who plays the role of a hero here. His life in Hollywood (and leaving it) is so much alike with what Charlie did when he decided to isolate himself from everyone else. What saved this movie was his performance which brought empathy into it hence lightening up Charlie’s character who was made up of contradictions: Unselfishly selfish; So hopeful for his daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink, all spikey edges and no nonsense teenager), but hopeless for himself; He recognizes his own flaws but refuses to take responsibility for them. For Fraser, this may have been emotionally quite hard; however, having seen him given room to portray such a complex role using such considerate approach was among the greatest achievements within The Whale.

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