Movie Review: The Whale (2022)

Coming to theatres 2022 from A24.

In parts languid and lyrical, Darren Aranofsky’s The Whale (B) takes its sweet time to arrive at its cathartic thesis, but patient viewers will be rewarded by floodgates of emotion. Brendan Fraser is dexterous and expressive as Charlie, a 600-pound man attempting to reconcile with a broken family as he contemplates a life that has become adrift. The cavalcade of people in Charlie’s orbit include a memorable Sadie Sink and Samantha Morton as his estranged daughter and wife, respectively; Ty Simpkins as a mysterious missionary; and Hong Chau as the protagonist’s friend and caregiver. Incidentally, Chau is a wonderful foil and purveyor of some of the best lines of dialogue. The director films most of the action in the confines of a claustrophobic apartment and in stark close-up. His work is a glorified character study with a few additional sparks stoked by familial and religious conflict. Aronofsky and Fraser generate intense empathy and an indelible central character in the complex Charlie, alternately optimistic and at sea. It’s a soulful drama that will be sure to spark discussion.

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