Charlie is an English teacher and suffers from morbid obesity. He carries 600 pounds and lives an isolated life. Nearing his death, he wishes to reconnect with his wife and daughter.
‘The Whale‘ is a play written in 2012 by playwright Samuel D. Hunter. It was then dramatized in different theatres and Darren Aronofsky happened to watch one of the productions which made him decide to direct the play as the film with the same title with Samuel as the screenwriter.
So why the inception of ‘The Whale‘ took around ten years? Because Darren was not able to find the right actor who can play such a difficult role until Brendan Fraser.
The actor himself had been struggling for years with health issues and personal losses. And he was looking for the right project that would bring him back into the game. ‘The Whale’ is now the biggest talking point in Fraser’s acting career.
‘The Whale’ is a psychological drama set on Charlie’s last five living days at home. The film has extremely limited characters and only revolves around Charlie’s residence. Therefore, the film has the rich ambiance of a theatrical play. Charlie has a nurse Liz whom he considers his only friend. A visitor from the New Life Church often visits to him for spiritual rebirth but neither he takes interest nor Liz. The core of the drama is centralized on the complex relationship between Charlie and his estranged daughter Ellie.
This film is a huge favor for the audience to understand how the pain of a personal loss deteriorates health. And due to psychological problems, he also suffers from binge-eating disorder (BED). He is an introvert and due to his weight issue, he is highly insecure to socialize with people.
One of the story arcs of the film is his behind-the-door effort for formal conversation with a pizza delivery guy which was interesting. Here, Charlie is depicted to have tried to socialize after he never showed up at the door to receive pizzas. During the online classes, he switches his webcam off. So the detailing of his behavioral attitude will grow on the audience.
Something that I never expected from Brendan Fraser was him to be that good. I know, he is a good actor and had been trying to raise the bar of his performance and fame to be remembered. But being so magnificent was out of line. It is not easy to sit your ass six hours a day and wear nearly 300 pounds of prosthetics every day shooting with that emotional accuracy and acting consistency.
One can rub off the claim that it is just the support of prosthetics that makes his performance look legit. That is not the case. Watch how he grunts in pain when he syllabically reads the sentences. Watch him in the last sequence when he confesses while inhaling laboriously and then cries in pain. And the most heartbreaking was when he begs Mary and says “I need to know that I have done one thing right in my life”. Those are not prosthetics, those are gems of human emotions superbly performed.
AND THE OSCAR GOES TO…
Academy Award for Best Actor? Honestly, it is a tie between him and Austin Butler for Elvis. Both are magnificent performances for two entirely different roles. One cannot say that one of them bettered the other at all. For the first time at the Oscars, I would love to observe the joint Best Actor awards. The only way that will do justice.
‘The Whale’ is a tragic tale that will depress and kill you from the inside. The reality behind feeling better after reading the Moby-Dick essay is the new parallel of loving someone. Almost the entire review has been about Brendan Fraser because that is the reality. It is his presence and the story is fully centered around his character. Watch the performance of a lifetime.
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