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Whale, The


Stars: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, Samantha Morton

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Fraser's 'comeback' movie is exquisitely harrowing and beautifully acted, but a distressing and difficult watch that provides intelligent food for thought rather than entertainment. The film, based rather obviously on a play, is a virtual two-hander with a fantastic role for Fraser as a lecturer with a destructive eating addiction that has seen his weight balloon over 30 stone, to a point where he can hardly move from his armchair.

Living alone apart from a carer (Hong Chau), Charlie (Fraser) has fairly recently lost his (male) partner, a shock that has triggered the tragic downswing in his self-control. While attempting to keep his career going via computer teaching, Charlie is visited by his rebellious estranged daughter (stridently played by Sink), with whom he's keen to reconnect.

There's little more to say about this one, except that subtle nuances abound and that the title refers to Herman Melville's classic novel Moby-Dick, a motif that runs through the film, rather than to poor Charlie himself. Acting Oscar nominations seem certain.

David Quinlan

USA 2022. UK Distributor: A 24. Colour by Company 3 .
117 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 2, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 1, Swearing 2.

Review date: 01 Feb 2023