The Whale

Watch The Whale

  • R
  • 2022
  • 1 hr 57 min
  • 7.7  (203,736)
  • 60

The Whale is a 2022 drama film that delves deep into the themes of redemption, human connection, and the complexities of familial relationships. Directed by Darren Aronofsky, known for his unflinching exploration of the human psyche in films such as "Requiem for a Dream" and "Black Swan", the movie promises a powerful and emotionally resonant experience. Aronofsky teams up with actor Brendan Fraser, who delivers a transformative and highly-lauded performance that marks a significant comeback in his career.

In the heart of the story is Charlie (played by Fraser), an English teacher grappling with severe obesity and the chronic loneliness that follows suit. Charlie navigates a world not built for him, teaching online courses with his camera perpetually off to avoid any judgment from his students, thus allowing him to carry on his passion for education from the privacy of his own home. However, as the narrative unfolds, it becomes clear that Charlie's isolation is not just physical. He holds a profound emotional detachment from the world, especially from his estranged teenage daughter.

The film introduces audiences to Charlie's daughter, Ellie (played by Sadie Sink), a sharp-tongued and deeply troubled high school student. She carries a mix of resentment, curiosity, and a yearning for genuine connection beneath her tough exterior. As a central figure in the story, Ellie's relationship with her father is tense and fraught with a litany of unsaid words and unresolved conflicts, offering a poignant look at estrangement and reconciliation.

Ty Simpkins joins the cast as Thomas, a young Mormon missionary who, on an unexpected visit to Charlie's apartment, becomes entangled in his life. Thomas embodies an innocent and sometimes naive optimism that stands in stark contrast to the weight of Charlie’s despair. As Charlie's health takes an inevitable decline due to heart failure—a repercussion of his obesity—he sees in Thomas, possibly, one last chance to make an impression, to leave something good behind, and to connect with someone who might carry that good into the future.

The Whale is based on the critically-acclaimed 2012 play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter, who also adapted the screenplay for the film. Staying true to its theatrical roots, the movie maintains a deeply introspective tone, with the play's small-scale intimacy translated effectively onto the silver screen.

Aronofsky’s direction ensures that the film is not just a showcase for Fraser’s acting but a carefully constructed narrative brought to life through considered cinematography and thoughtful production design. The confined space of Charlie's apartment, where most of the film's action takes places, becomes another character itself, reflecting his interior world—both his past memories and the present situation that he has come to reside in.

Visually, The Whale strikes a balance between the suffocating closeness of Charlie's existence and the metaphorical breath of hope that the film’s poignant moments bring. The director of photography harnesses natural lighting and a claustrophobic framing to build empathy with the protagonist, allowing the audience to feel the weight of Charlie's pain and his flickering joy.

Composer Rob Simonsen provides the musical backdrop for the film, crafting a score that is minimalist yet emotionally resonant, further amplifying the highs and lows of Charlie's story without overwhelming it. The subtle sound design complements the film’s emotional landscape, positioning the audience to experience each moment as if they were in the room with the characters.

The Whale, though it features minimalistic settings, poses complex moral questions and encourages viewers to confront their own prejudices and attitudes. It examines the depths of despair but also the potential for human connection to act as a lifeline. The juxtaposition of Charlie's physical immobility and the expansive nature of his imagination and memories craft a narrative rife with dramatic tension and existential reflection.

Brendan Fraser’s central performance in The Whale is likely to be heralded as one of the most compelling of his career. He brings a sense of vulnerable humanity and aching authenticity to Charlie, earning widespread critical acclaim. His portrayal is sensitive, nuanced, and entirely transformative, highlighting Fraser's range and commitment as an actor.

Sadie Sink brings a raw intensity to Ellie, playing the character with a mixture of bravado and vulnerability that is striking. Her character's arc is crucial to the story, and Sink’s performance ensures that Ellie is not just seen as a difficult teenager but as a person shaped by her choices and the absence of her father in her life.

Ultimately, The Whale is a film about human connections and the ways in which we seek forgiveness and healing, both from others and ourselves. It asks its viewers to look beyond the surface and to understand the complex layers that make up a person's life. It’s a film that promises to stay with its audience long after the credits roll, sparking conversations and introspection regarding our shared humanity and the fragile nature of life.

The Whale is a 2022 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 57 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.7 and a MetaScore of 60.

The Whale
Where to Watch The Whale
The Whale is available to watch free on Kanopy. It's also available to stream, download, buy and rent on demand at Hulu, Paramount+, Amazon Prime, Apple TV Channels, FuboTV, Showtime, The Roku Channel, Showtime Anytime, Google Play, Apple TV, Amazon, Microsoft Movies & TV and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Whale for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 57 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    7.7  (203,736)
  • Metascore