Based on the play by Samuel D. Hunter and directed by Darren Aronofsky, The Whale follows an English professor who teaches remotely while battling a tidal wave of health issues. On top of that, he has an enabling nurse that exacerbates his eating problem and makes desperate attempts to find common ground with his estranged daughter.

Charlie (Brendan Fraser) is battling severe obesity, past traumas, and a divorce that’s distanced him from his daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink).

Day in and day out, he teaches his students remotely while keeping his camera off for fear of their reaction to his appearance. His gluttonous stature didn’t take shape overnight. Sadly, all of his battles are linked to one another. He was fighting a losing battle deep within his soul that took a toll on his marriage (divorce and losing Ellie). That split led him to chase happiness but for a moment. When that time was cut short by a massive tragedy, Charlie fell deep into depression and slowly morphed into a gourmand.

His health brought about a nurse friend named Liz (Hong Chau) but often times she enabled his bad eating habits. On top of all this, his house is in disarray, he has no health insurance, and his past traumas affected his faith.

Pictured: Sadie Sink
Credit: Niko Tavernise

Brendan Fraser gives the performance of a lifetime. We see the humor, the sadness, and the anger that takes shape in response to the hand he was dealt in life. Fraser’s onscreen chemistry with Hong Chau was incredible and should shake things up this awards season.

Unfortunately, Sadie Sinks’ role as Ellie wasn’t anything to brag about. There’s no difference between her as Ellie and her as Max (Stranger Things), but, that’s not to say she was terrible. Her performance was what you’d expect if you’re used to her from her aforementioned Netflix stardom.

Credit: Courtesy of A24

The Whale gets a 9 out of 10. The film may be triggering to those battling addiction. There were a handful of uneasy moments where Fraser’s character was inhaling food or struggling to breathe. The film kicked off in quite a bizarre manner (not appropriate for kids) and they very noticeably attacked the church and religion. I would even go as far as saying the movie is abhorrent. With that being said, the performances are still noteworthy.

Brendan Fraser and Hong Chau are up for Oscars in the categories of Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress respectively.

The Whale is in theaters now.

-Jon Jones

Photos: Courtesy of A24

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