The Whale [Grade: 86.67%]

Director: Darren Aronofsky

Story By: Samuel D. Hunter

Cast: Brendan Fraser, Hong Chau, Sadie Sink, & Ty Simpkins

* * *

I must admit, the hype around Brendan Fraser in this film is well deserved. 

* * *

Theme & Story: B

Pacing: A-

Character: A-

Overall “Paper” Score: B

* * *

Entertainment Factors

General Public: Interesting Enough

Psychological Drama Fans: Interesting Enough

Film Enthusiasts: Worth the $$$

Experience Seekers (Twists & Feels): Worth the $$$

Overall “Viewing Experience” Score: Interesting Enough

* * *


1. An online college writing professor dealing with heartbreak and life threatening obesity looks to rekindle a past relationship. This is The Whale.

Thematically, I walked away following a message about the impact of social exploitations & acceptance standards, & conditioned beliefs on the psychological and emotional wellbeing of others , as well as the impact these ideas have people’s ability to be genuinely good/caring. Personally, the messaging felt a little choppy in the beginning, but started to strengthen as the movie progressed.🤷🏾‍♂️

With that being said, the strength of the film for me were the last 2 Acts where themes started to meld well with the movement of the plot. 👍🏾

What could’ve used some work for me was some more thought for thematic cohesion in Act One, and in general when looking at character development. 🤷🏾‍♂️

2. I nearly cried at the end… 😩❤️

3. The active “metaphors” regarding the The Whale…👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏾

4. Wait a min, not “the hub” right off top!  🫢😅

5. The Whale has a runtime of 107 minutes, and both Brendan and Hong kept my attention the entire time. So pacing for engagement was strong. 👍🏾👍🏾

I also appreciated the pacing of Brendan’s character for thematic followthrough, though ironically on the flip side pacing also moved too fast in regards to providing more continuity with the theme in Act One. There wasn’t anything to indicate that Brendan’s character struggled with similar issues prior to his current situation, so it came off a little sudden for the sake of the plot. 🤷🏾‍♂️

6. “I am not going to the hospital…” I felt/understood that.😔

7. That prosthetic work! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

8. I loved the zoom class component to the overall character understanding and thematic connection. 👍🏾👍🏾

9. Damn, pizza guy. Really!? 😔

10. As stated at the start of this review, the praise that Brendan Fraser is receiving for this performance is much deserved. It was more than just the physical aspects of his challenges and pain that I was able to feel through him, it was also the challenges that we all face with things like confident access to healthcare. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏾

Hong Chau is someone I am really starting to love. I loved her in The Menu, and really enjoyed her performance here. 👍🏾

Thematically, each character was written well to carry out some aspect of the theme, which is a plus. Simpkins’ character as a representation of the conditioned beliefs which seemed to be a response to social acceptance at home; Sink’s character as a representation of the social exploitation and victim of social acceptance and the impact of others also impacted by social acceptance; Chau’s character as a bypass victim to social acceptance and conditioned beliefs, as well as a representation of the positive impacts from being a bypass victim; and then Fraser’s character who was the victim of it all, but responded in such round/complex ways. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👍🏾

The only downside to the character development with Fraser is how long it takes for the film to gain some continuity momentum with the theme. There was so much pain that seemed to be directed at social acceptance for the physical when the physical was both new and inferably unknown to others to truly have the impact he was feeling. It really should’ve focused more on the heartbreak and how this moment was a result of that started to eat away at his self-esteem and bleed into being more of the physical that he concocted to be also related to the heartbreak. If that makes sense. 🤷🏾‍♂️

** ** **

Overall #TheWhale gives My 600 LB Life – meets The Father – meets 1934 Imitation of Life

Yeah… Brendan Fraser gave a superb performance that deserves an Oscar. 

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