whale The story of a reclusive English teacher trying to reunite with his estranged daughter.
The latest from director Darren Aronofsky, known for his critically acclaimed films. wrestler When black swan, Like previous Festival Darling Pi When Requiem for a Dream – Based on the play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter (who also wrote the screenplay).
By the way, if you don’t want to know any more, skip to the end of TL;DR. If not, let’s get into it!
all right. So the settings are…
Inspired by Hunter’s own personal experiences and struggles, whale It follows the story of Charlie (Fraser), a 600-pound man struggling with depression who lives a homebound and near-isolated life in rural Idaho.
Charlie spends most of his time at work (where he teaches an online essay writing class), watching TV, reading, or just griefing over the past. Relevant, right?
The only person Charlie is close to is his longtime best friend and current caretaker, Liz (played brilliantly by Hong Chau). Liz regularly checks Charlie’s vitals and brings him food, medicine, and other sundries.
Their relationship is genuinely affectionate, though Liz can be sharp and scolding at times. The problem is that Charlie also suffers from congenital heart defects and refuses to go to the hospital.
One day, a young missionary named Thomas (Ty Simpkins) happens to knock on Charlie’s door. After surviving a very awkward first encounter, Thomas decides to make it his mission to “save” Charlie’s soul. See, Thomas is from a cult-like group called New Life, and unfortunately Charlie is no stranger to that group. However, he is kind and open-minded, so Charlie welcomes Thomas into his life (much to Liz’s dismay).
He’s willing to chat with Thomas, but Charlie isn’t really interested in being “saved” — he reads the Bible (twice) and finds it pretty unfair — In fact, he chooses not to be “saved” (soul or otherwise). Anyone.
The main focus of the rest of Charlie’s time is making sure his daughter Ellie is safe. And oops, meet her and you’ll know why.
At first, Ellie looks like your typical angry teen. However, as the story progresses, we realize that the intensity of her anger has grown so deep that it has turned her into a truly deeply unhappy person. Too comfortable to cast. Charlie, in particular, is nothing but kind to her girlfriend, even her own mother, Mary (Samantha Morton), who calls her her “horror.”
Mary thinks her daughter is bad, but optimist Charlie doesn’t think so. He has incredible hopes for her, so he tries to reach out to Ellie, whom she hasn’t seen in nine years, and help her with her homework. Specifically (what else?!) writing her essay.
You see, one of Charlie’s treasures is an essay Ellie wrote. moby dick; or whale when she was a young girl. And there’s a passage in her essay that Charlie repeats to comfort himself, especially in moments of duress. Part of it says, “The author is just trying to save us from his own sad story.” Ellie’s razor-sharp response to Herman Melville’s “boring” chapter on whales is what keeps Charlie hopeful.
In fact, as the layers of the story peel away, you’ll find Ellie’s essay to be the real linchpin.
Now, since the movie is based on a play (and was filmed during COVID), here’s what you need to know whale It feels very contained. The entire movie takes place in (or just outside) Charlie’s apartment. It’s also presented in a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is obviously not seen much these days, but this choice certainly adds to the limited situation Charlie is in.
But the real highlight of the film is Fraser’s performance. Aside from his rigorous four-hour makeup application that Mr. Fraser did every morning (in fact, as you may have heard, it upset some). controversy What Fraser Owns handle several times), it’s clear that Fraser has taken on one of the most challenging roles of his career.
It’s been a hot minute since Fraser landed a major dramatic role. It’s so great to see him come back to this kind of role. And what he brings to Charlie is the vulnerability, the seriousness, the honesty that makes you feel so much. People’s personal casting preferences aside, Fraser definitely knocked this one out of the park and he’ll 1,000% be the frontrunner during awards season.
An additional shoutout must be given to Chow for an equally epic portrayal of Liz. Like flipping a switch, she can go from her love to anger in a fraction of a second and it’s so impressive to watch.Chau and Fraser’s on-screen chemistry feels so natural that this two of her People think they’ve been best friends for years.
whole, whale Aronofsky’s film is certainly the most stripped-down film in years (and probably ever), wrestler Also black swan In terms of following a lonely, self-destructive hero. And frankly, it’s a huge relief to see Aronofsky back in this direction (I was never a fan of the movie). mother! Also Noah). Hopefully he catches up with it.
If there’s one complaint, it’s that the movie loses momentum halfway through and feels monotonous at times. However, despite these minor flaws, when it’s all done you’ll be glad you went all the way — 8/10, recommended!
whale It opens December 9th in Los Angeles and New York, and December 21st nationwide. You can watch the trailer here.