Please note that there is an option to add closed captions at the bottom-right corner of the player.
Brendan Fraser gives the performance of his career as a sensitive soul trapped in a dying body, who reaches out to his estranged daughter.
Charlie is an English teacher in thrall to the cadence and poetry of words. He runs an online class with college students, albeit with his camera turned off at all times. And he’s attempting to build bridges with his daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink), who sees him solely as someone who deserted his family for another man. His partner died some time back and in the intervening years Charlie has become a recluse, gaining weight due to inactivity and now reaching a point where his obesity places his life in danger. With the little time he has, Charlie wants to repair his relationship with Ellie and to ensure that her life does not remain derailed as a result of his actions.
Darren Aronofsky’s films tend to fall into two categories. There are the epic visions of internalised or imagined worlds, such as Pi, The Fountain, Noah and mother! Then there is the heightened realism of Requiem for a Dream, Black Swan and The Wrestler. The Whale is a bedfellow to the latter films. Adapted by Samuel D. Hunter from his stage play, the drama remains confined to Charlie’s home and mostly to the lounge – his weight preventing him from anything more than an assisted journey to his front door, where he collects a regular pizza delivery. Aronofsky is a master of the claustrophobic, but Matthew Libatique’s cinematography expands the space, creating a gulf between Ellie and his ex, Mary (Samantha Morton), while emphasising the emotional and physical intimacy he has with his nurse Liz (Hong Chau). But it’s primarily Fraser from whom the film derives its power. It’s a performance of raw, unbridled intensity.