TIFF 2022: Whale Review


Critics praised Darren Aronofsky’s emotional drama “The Whale”, based on the play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter. The film had its world premiere on September 4, 2022 at the 79th Venice International Film Festival, followed by its North American premiere on September 11, 2022 at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival, where Brendan Fraser also received a Tribute Award for his performance in the title role. role.

Known for his roles in the “Mummy” and “Fatal Patrol” franchises, the main character made a splash in this new film by playing the role of a 600-pound man named Charlie. Visually and physically, Fraser performs a complex role, shimmering under a constant sheen of sweat, stumbling with the help of a walker and navigating his character’s life using various tools for people with disabilities. He also wears a 300-pound thick suit (among other prosthetics), which has drawn some criticism from viewers commenting on both the specifics of his portrayal and the general use of thick suits in Hollywood. It’s fair to say that he got off easier than Sarah Paulson in “Impeachment: An American Crime Story” and other criminals, and perhaps this is due to the complex nature of the role and the sincerity of Fraser’s play.

From the very beginning, there is more to Charlie Fraser than meets the eye. We meet him as an online professor who is too shy and unsure of himself to turn on the camera while learning through Zoom. “Is your camera still broken?” the student asks. He is a critically kind person, devoted to his students and encouraging them to write what they feel, not what they think he wants to hear. He apologizes in vain, often for simply existing—a concept all too well known to women—as if he’s a waste of time, despite the reassurances and support from his slash-odd nurse friend Liz, played by Hung Chau.

Here’s the trick: Charlie is dying because of his obesity and sedentary lifestyle, and the film plays with the timestamps on the screen, naturally causing the audience to expect and fear. Like many overweight people, Charlie avoids hospitals, and although he does not consider this a humiliating experience that large people often face in medical institutions, it may play a role, given his strong insecurities. But the cost of medical care in the United States plays a big role, as he insists that a trip to the emergency department could lead to his bankruptcy. The Whale offers a brilliant commentary on the failure of the culture and health care system of the United States, which contributed to people becoming ashamed of their bodies and not allowing them to access proper care, both physical and mental.

In the drama, obesity is treated in the same way as addiction, in the sense that Charlie cannot stop overeating (which is considered an eating disorder). His craving for this survival mechanism was caused by the loss of his partner Alan. Charlie, upon learning of his unfortunate demise, decides to reunite with his estranged daughter Ellie, played by Sadie Sink from the TV series “Very Strange Things”.

Carrying a personality shaped by her father’s sudden absence at the age of eight and her mother’s estrangement and alcoholism, Ellie is a firework of anxiety and righteous anger. She insults her father, bringing the man to tears, and in the end they make a deal: she receives several hundred thousand dollars and several school jobs in exchange for spending time with a single man. This storyline predictably flows and flows and dominates the film, but with such sharp dialogues and intimate direction that it flows naturally.

At first glance, “The Whale” is a front—row seat to the biggest shitty show in the world, which tells the story of a dysfunctional family denying that their journey is coming to an end, but with a carefully thought-out script and a brilliant game of all (Oscar predictions). for Sink and Fraser), he transports himself into something much bigger. A tear becomes a tragic exploration of grief, heartbreak, and addiction. It becomes a story about a man with an unshakable faith in humanity, who seemingly became disillusioned with himself before the world was ready to let him go.

“The Whale” will be released in theaters on December 9, 2022.


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