From director Darren Aronofsky and starring Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, and Hong Chau. A reclusive English teacher living with severe obesity attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption. A film based on the acclaimed play by Samuel D. Hunter.
Brendan Fraser gives a virtuosic performance as Charlie, an English teacher living with severe obesity whose time is running out. As he makes a last bold attempt to reconcile with his broken family, Charlie must confront, with his full heart and fierce wit, long buried traumas and unspoken love that have haunted him for decades.
Says Aronofsky, “What I love about The Whale is that it invites you to see the humanity of characters who are not all good or all bad, who truly live in grey tones the way people do, and who have extremely rich, intricate inner lives. They’ve all made mistakes, but what they share are immense hearts and the desire to love even when others are seemingly unlovable. It’sa story that asks a simple but essential question: can we save each other? That feels important in the world right now, especially when people seem more than ever to be turning their backs on one another.” “For me, this is what cinema is all about,” he continues. “Through the power of emotion, a story like this can put us into the shoes of a man we might otherwise never even wonder about, and remind us that all the promise of love and redemption is there in every human existence.”
But The Whale offers much more than just darkness. It’s a soaring character study of a man wrestling with the enormity of his regret, the duty of fatherhood, and the feasibility of goodness itself. At its core, The Whale is a story about transformation and transcendence, one man’s odyssey into himself and out of his body, a journey through the depths of grief towards the possibility of salvation. Through Charlie, the film gives us access to a life that is rarely portrayed with tenderness or intelligence on the big screen. Fraser pours himself into the kaleidoscope of Charlie’s inner world, all of its contradictions and longings and fears, with a twinkling, almost-mischievous wit. It’s a brilliant, deeply warm performance; one that crucially does not see empathy as the enemy of honesty, but rather as two sides of the same coin.
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