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Brendan Fraser returns to the big screen with the lead role in ‘The Whale’

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, “The Whale” is a heart-wrenching film that preys on viewers’ heartstrings. Adapted from a play written by Samuel D. Hunter, the film features Brendan Fraser who we have not seen in a successful film since the 90s to early 2000s. Fraser had strayed from the Hollywood spotlight for so long due to the passing of his mother and sexual harassment from an ex-president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. 

In a grand re-entrance, Fraser gave a beautiful performance. The film follows Charlie, a 600-pound man struggling with self-worth and purpose. Rendered nearly immobile beneath his immense weight, Charlie has congestive heart failure and is not expected to live for much longer. We learn that Charlie is a remote college writing instructor who keeps his camera off at all times, telling his students that his camera is broken. We also find out that Charlie was married to a woman named Mary, who he had a daughter named Ellie with. When Ellie was just eight years old, Charlie left them both to be with one of his students at the time, Alan, as Charlie finally acknowledges his homosexuality that he had kept hidden. 

Alan ends up taking his own life and Charlie’s spiraled in response as he turned to binge-eating as a cure for devastation. Unable to stop his habits from spiraling out of control, Charlie is at the last stretch in his life when Ellie comes to him for writing help, after not seeing her for years. Wracked with guilt, Charlie pays Ellie for coming to him even though she constantly throws fat-shaming comments at him, revealing her disdain for him and his life choices. Ellie’s anger is clear and Charlie does everything he can to reconnect with her, which is through writing. 

In the ending scene Charlie begs Ellie to read her essay she wrote on Moby Dick, claiming that it is the most honest essay he has ever seen. He tearfully apologizes for leaving her saying that Ellie is “the best thing he has ever done”. Ellie relents and reads the essay in tears, and Charlie stands up in one last hurrah. He forces his nearly immobile body to take a step towards her and he smiles as she finishes the essay. There is a white light that then proceeds to engulf the screen and we can assume that Charlie has finally succumbed to his illnesses. 

“The Whale” is a sad tale and one of life’s tragedies and old pasts coming back to haunt you. Overall, the film is not one that you may want to watch over again because of its heavy storyline, but it is a great film with amazing acting performances with Ellie being played by Sadie Sink and Charlie by Brendan Fraser. Fraser won the “best actor” Oscar for his role in the film, and it was very much deserved.


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