The Whale


D: Darren Aronofsky

A24 / Protozoa (Jeremy Dawson, Ari Handel & Darren Aronofsky)

US 🇺🇸 2022

117 mins


W: Samuel D. Hunter [based on his play]

DP: Matthew Libatique

Ed: Andrew Weisblum

Mus: Rob Simonsen

Brendan Fraser (Charlie), Sadie Sink (Ellie), Ty Simpkins (Thomas), Hong Chau (Liz), Samantha Morton (Mary)

Based on the stage play from Samuel D. Hunter, Darren Aronofsky’s The Whale is a bleak, depressing drama which is carried by the tour de force performance of Brendan Fraser as Charlie, a morbidly obese professor who is completely housebound and makes a living as a class instructor via the internet.

He attempt to restore his relationship with his wayward teenage daughter, and is frequently visited by Liz, a caring nurse, as well as Thomas, a religious missionary.

The stage origins are apparent throughout, as the entire story takes place in a single setting, and while the introduction of some of the characters is a little tenuous, it makes for a better narrative than one man sitting alone.

Fraser deservedly won the Best Actor Oscar for his performance, but some credit also belongs to Hong Chau & Samantha Morton for their effective supporting turns, while Sadie Sink does the best she can with a character who was written to be a little too unpleasant.

It’s very much a film that relies on its performances, especially its lead one, otherwise it would be an incredibly miserable slog to get through.


Brendan Fraser in The Whale
Brendan Fraser in The Whale