4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

Brendan Fraser deserved that standing ovation.

Director Darren Aronofsky solidifies himself as the master of tragedy with another soul-wrenching classic about morbidly obese teacher Charlie (Brendan Fraser). Faced with his own mortality, he tries to reconnect with Veruca-Salt-esque daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink).

As someone who was largely resigned to doing blockbusters in the 90s, this is reminiscent of how Heath Ledger wowed us with his performance as the Joker in The Dark Knight. Not only was it an incredible piece of acting, but also something we never knew he was capable of. Fraser’s glowing reception and 6-minute standing ovation at the Venice film festival can attest to this phenomenon.

It took Aronofsky 10 years to make the film, purely due to difficulties in casting the role of Charlie. It’s clear that his persistence in searching for the right person paid off – Brendan Fraser carries the film.

In comparison to some of his other directing efforts, the story is fairly straightforward. It’s more in the vein of The Wrestler, as opposed to being cryptic and symbolic such as Mother! or Black Swan. The plot unravels gradually and at the perfect pace to pique your interest.

Special mention to the effects and costume departments for Charlie’s entire physique looking believable and seamless throughout.

A word of warning: this is not exactly ideal viewing to be enjoyed with, or before a meal (!)

The Whale premieres in Sweden on 10 March.

Photographs © 2022 Palouse Rights LLC. All Rights Reserved.


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