Review – The Whale

Posted in Drama, Film Reviews, Film Reviews 2022, Genre by - December 21, 2022
Review – The Whale

The Whale(2022)
R ‧ Psychological Drama ‧ 1 H 57 M
Written by Samuel D. Hunter
Directed by ‎Darren Aronofsky


 Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, and Samantha Morton.


(In their own words) From Darren Aronofsky comes The Whale, the story of a reclusive English teacher living with severe obesity who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption. Starring Brendan Fraser and based on the acclaimed play by Samuel D. Hunter


  1. It’s adapted from a play. 
  2. There’s a lot of criticism about the film right now because some people are claiming it is “fatphobic” due to its depiction of the over 600 lbs English teacher. So perhaps a trigger warning for this for people who have or are dealing with issues around weight and food. 
  3. The film premiered at the Venice International Film Festival.
  4. Brendon Fraser has already been nominated for a Golden Globe and Critics Choice Award for his performance.
  5. Most of the film is shot in 4:3 ratio, which is what pre-wide screen televisions were. 

The BEST things about the film

  1. The writing. Just great writing. The dialogue, it’s grounded, it’s honest, and draws you into the story. 
  2. Brendon Fraser’s performance is magnificent. Definitely Oscar worthy. 
  3. It’s impactful. Both myself and my guest were moved to tears. 
  4. It’s honest. From the writing to the acting, the whole film feels very honest. It’s even a theme of the film. 


The WORST things about the Film

  1. Its single location makes it feel like a play, in that the story isn’t a grand story. Often people want movies to change locations a lot. This just isn’t that kind of story. 
  2. It can be hard to watch, but I think that is part of the point. It’s hard because you empathize with how hard of a time the main character, Charlie, is going through. I’ve myself had a complicated and difficult relationship with food. The story hit home in many, many ways.


I feel like many of the complaints about the fatphobia in the film are coming from many people who don’t suffer from weight issues. They are accusing the film of making someone feel bad for being fat. This film isn’t just about him being overweight, at 600 lbs he’s not just needing to lose weight. The character in the film is someone who has suffered severe emotional trauma that he needs to cope with. He’s not dealing well with it. This is closer to a mental health issue than a body issue. In some ways, I feel like the fatphobia comments are being misdirected by some people who themselves may have it. 


Honesty matters.


Certainly for the performances and the writing. It’s not necessarily a pleasant film. It will likely be one I reference to people quite a bit.


The Whale is a wonderfully written, emotional, and moving tale starring Brandan Fraser, who deserves an Oscar for his performance in this film. Adapted from the play, restrained to mostly one setting, and then presented in mostly 4:3 aspect ratio, the cinematography gives you the feeling of being trapped, as is the main character, Charlie. While much of the film is dealing with Charlie’s 600+ lb weight health related issues, it is really more about the mental health issues that manifested in his size. The weight holding Charlie down is the emotional baggage from his past, something we can all connect with. 

My 3L system gives me the choice to Love It, Like It, or Lose It. 

I am a sucker for a film that combines incredible acting with great writing. For this,  The Whale gets a  Love It. 



This post was written by
When he’s not reviewing films or interviewing people for the Black & A Half podcast, Silas Lindenstein can be found in the greater metro Seattle, WA working as a real estate agent helping people buy and sell homes, or performing stand up comedy to fellow nerds. He has a wife and three children and desperately wants to learn to make the perfect homemade pizza.

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