The Whale Review: Brendan Fraser's strong act fails to lift a weightless play adaptation


Film: The Whale

Director: Darren Aronofsky 

Cast: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins 

Rating: 2.5 Moons

The Whale, which got Brendan Fraser an Oscar nomination in the Best Actor category, has released in India today. Based on a play written by Samuel D. Hunter, the film is here for the Indian audience to enjoy. The Whale also stars Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, and Ty Simpkins and it is directed by Darren Aronofsky. 

The Whale follows the story of a morbidly obese English professor named Charlie (Brendan Fraser), who refuses to show his face to the students of his online class. He suffers a congestive heart failure. Despite knowing that death is coming closer to him, Charlie doesn't wish to go to the hospital fearing he doesn't have the necessary health insurance to cover the expenses. Charlie is taken care of by his only friend Liz (Hong Chau), who is also his nurse. His life is as messed up as his tiny apartment. From losing his boyfriend Alan to facing his daughter's hatred for him, Charlie sinks deeper into the ocean of melancholy. 

Director Darren Aronofsky wants the audience to empathise with Charlie as the story takes viewers into his small world. Through the narrative written by Samuel D. Hunter, Charlie's emotional past, painful present, and uncertain future with explored without much ado. Given the fact that it is translated from a play, the director certainly manages to give a claustrophobic feel. However, The Whale is far away from being a perfect film. 

Despite loading it with ample emotional moments, just a few of them leave behind an impact. Darren restricts the action to Charlie's house, giving it a play-like feel. There are moments of conflict but the end result isn't as impactful as it desired to be. The emotionally challenging moments sometimes come across as overdramatised and this is what kills the overall essence of the scene. The major problem with The Whale lies in its pace and setting. It is sluggish. As the story delves deeper into Charlie's relationship with his daughter, it deviates from the point it started. 

Brendan Fraser certainly deserves the Oscar nomination for playing Charlie. Playing the role of a man with limited mobility, the actor presents himself on screen effortlessly. Hong Chau, who plays Liz, is fantastic. She is the ray of sunshine that lights up Charlie's life as well as the film. Sadie Sink does a good job too. However, her character seems more confusing. 

The Whale belongs entirely to Brendan and his heartbreaking performance. The rest of the aspects fail to ignite any spark on the screen and due to low emotional quotient, there's no reliability factor too. 

PeepingMoon gives The Whale 2.5 Moons