Carnival Magic
Carnival Magic 333 at the beach Pro Property Partners British International School, Phuket
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search

Something special about ‘The Whale’

Sometimes when the nominations for the Academy Awards are announced you find yourself thinking – how did that person get a nomination? That certainly wasn’t the case for any of the nominations for brand-new drama ‘The Whale’. While many people have heaped praise on Brendan Fraser for his performance, this is one film where the whole cast needs to be praised because this is a heart-wrenching masterpiece.

By David Griffiths

Saturday 11 February 2023, 11:00AM

Brendan Fraser in The Whale (2022). Image: IMDb

Brendan Fraser in The Whale (2022). Image: IMDb

The Whale is not an easy watch. To be honest, director Darren Aronofsky (Noah) has delivered a movie that is going to affect people emotionally and hit them hard – the same way that his films like Black Swan and The Wrestler have done in the past. The difference here is that it feels Aronofsky’s characters come to life with a cast who all bring their A-Game to the table.

The film itself centres around morbidly obese literature lecturer Charlie (Brendan Fraser – The Mummy). George is so overweight that he is now a prisoner in his own apartment – his only companionship comes from his good friend, Liz (Hong Chau – The Menu), who also happens to be a trained nurse.

As Liz grows increasingly concerned about Charlie’s health, even warning him that his days may be limited, he begins to find other people coming into his life. First there is a door-to-door missionary, Thomas (Ty Simpkins – Jurassic World), who seems to want to befriend Charlie despite catching him in a compromising position, and then there is his daughter, Ellie (Sadie Sink – Stranger Things), who has hated him since his divorce with her mother, Mary (Samantha Morton – Minority Report).

To give too much more about the plot of this film would be an absolute sin because what Aronofsky has done here is create a film that’s screenplay and plot unfolds as the film goes on. This isn’t a film where the director or screenwriter, Samuel D. Hunter (Baskets), sign-posts every twist or turn for the audience. No, just like life itself this film plays out with revelations that come at unexpected times bringing with them an array of emotions.

It is impossible to not watch this film and get emotional. In cinemas around the world it has been reported that people have been left in stunned silence as the credits roll and that is not surprising given that at times during the film’s happiness seamlessly melds into sadness and the screenplay has the power to make its audience view the world in a whole new light.

Also enhancing those emotions are the performances of the cast. It is hard not to look at Charlie and feel for him – despite the fact the character has done some pretty despicable things during his life Fraser plays him in such a way that he is likeable. Then there are the powerful moments where Charlie and Liz share moments that she believes may be their last or when Ellie faces off against a father that she hates so much that their relationship seems like it is unrepairable.

Brightview Center

The key to this film working though are the secrets. As an audience you find yourself constantly wondering how did Charlie get to this point where has basically given up on life and then there are all the questions that seem to revolve around Thomas, especially after Ellie starts to dig into his life. The good thing is that all of those questions are answered throughout the film. Aronofsky might be a director that doesn’t like his audience to get too comfortable in the cinema, but he certainly isn’t a filmmaker who believes that the audience should be made to go away and ‘realise’ the ending for themselves.

The Whale is one of the most powerful films that you will see in 2023. There is no escaping the emotional roller-coaster that this film will take you on because this is one of those rare moments where everything comes together to make a film a masterpiece. The film has an intriguing script that has been put into the hands of one of the most talented directors in Hollywood at the moment. When you add all that to a cast where all of them have put in an Oscar-worthy performance, you are left with a film that may be gruelling to watch but really needs to be savoured.

The Whale opens in Phuket on Feb 16.

5/5 Stars

David Griffiths has been working as a film and music reviewer for over 20 years. That time has seen him work in radio, television and in print. You can follow him at 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

* (Not Hotmail/Outlook)

Be the first to comment.


Have a news tip-off? Click here


Phuket community
Phuket air quality takes a hit

Singapore is good. Very good. But its a business enviroment not a holiday enviroment. Apples and ora...(Read More)

Central Festival taxi drivers called in by police over intimidation

Classic- she gets done and these cowards who threaten and intimidate a woman walk away yet again. Ab...(Read More)

Central Festival taxi drivers called in by police over intimidation

Me and most other people are very tired of this Taxi Maffia that the Government not can control. It ...(Read More)

French tourists injured as van flips in Kamala

Welcome to Phuket, and be thankful you weren't killed. Heck, you might even get a photo-op fruit...(Read More)

Dark water at Patong Beach called ‘natural’

@GCCm don't be surprised during Covid years without tourists all was environmental wise better o...(Read More)

French tourists injured as van flips in Kamala

Condition of the brakes and the tires? Alcohol/drugs tests thai drivers? Any journalistic follow up...(Read More)

Central Festival taxi drivers called in by police over intimidation

And this Phuket taxi nonsense keep going on and on. Many different intrepretations among many partie...(Read More)

Foreign workers called in for street brawl in Soi Sansabai

No moaning, not upsetting, not judging the action of the 3 foreign workers ( that is for police to h...(Read More)

Dark water at Patong Beach called ‘natural’

Amazing how this didn't happen during the 'covid years'...(Read More)

Illegal operator removed from Freedom Beach

I live 5 minutes from Freedom, slowly but surely the routes down to the beach are being ruined, the...(Read More)