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Drama - No Category

The Whale (2022)

Duration1h 57m
RatingsUK: 15, USA: R, Denmark: 7
Source of storyA 2012 play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter
DirectorDarren Aronofsky
Writers/ScriptSamuel D. Hunter
StarringBrendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Ty Simpkins, Hong Chau, Samantha Morton
RatingsIMDb: 8/10 by 27,272 people.  Rotten Tomatoes: 66% by 301 reviewers. Review2view: 7/10.

Summary: A morbidly obese tutor of English, Charlie, teaches his students on line from his grungy living room, with his own camera turned off. He is looked after by Liz a nurse of Chinese heritage who, we learn, had been adopted by the local leader of the New Life Church, and is the sister of Alan Charlie’s former lover who is no longer with us. While Charlie is watching porn and “possibly” masturbating a young man enters who is a missionary from the New Life Church, and wants to, but is unable to, help Charlie. Later his estranged daughter who is sixteen enters ( let’s face it, it is a play) and they interact. He offers her money if she will stay and talk to him. She plays up, and when the missionary reappears they interact. Later Charlie’s wife enters and they talk, everyone in alienated and it is possible that Charlie is dying.

Content: The masturbating scene (or is it) takes place . Pot is smoked by Ellie, the daughter and Thomas the missionary. Booze is drunk by Mary, Charlie’s former wife. Liz looks after Charlie, but is put off when she finds out that rather than going to hospital and doing stuff that would help them both he had kept all his money to give to Ellie. Ellie is foul mouthed and unpleasant and refuses to do anything useful but Charlie is impressed. Mary is, in the end, sympathetic. Charlie staggers about at times with a walking frame and later wheels about in a giant wheelchair.

A View: This is a play and is performed in the way of a play which has put off some of the critics, quite a few also found it maudlin and shallow (my words), but a lot looked at it and it has made money. At the time of writing Brendan Fraser is nominated for best actor and Hong Chau for best support at the Oscars. My wife and I like plays, so we liked this outing even though we could see some standard playwright’s tricks being used. Some of the fat stuff is difficult to watch but all in all we are with the majority of the public who think it is pretty good.

Darren Aronofsky’s work has been variously received over the years. The only other film of his reviewed on this site is The Wrestler, another difficult watch.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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