27 September 2023

The Whale

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Director: Darren Aronofsky, Madman Entertainment.

See the humanity of characters who are not all good or all bad, living in grey tones, with rich, intricate inner lives. Mistakes have been made, but they share immense hearts and the desire to love even when others are seemingly unlovable.

This is the story of a reclusive English teacher living with severe obesity who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption

In Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale, Brendan Fraser, in the title role as Charlie, gives an impeccable performance as the one living with severe obesity whose time is running out.

As he endeavours to make a last daring 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.

At its core, The Whale offers much more than just darkness. It is a soaring character study of a man wrestling with the enormity of his regret, the duty of fatherhood and the feasibility of goodness itself. Here’s a chronicle 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 (No Sudden Move, The Mummy trilogy) 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, genuinely warm performance, where compassion is not seen as the rival of honesty.

Based on the acclaimed play by Samuel D. Hunter, The Whale also stars Hong Chau, Sadie Sink, Ty Simpkins and Samantha Morton.

  • The Whale is screening at Limelight Cinemas

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