Simply an extraordinary film. Having seen Aronofsky’s previous works, I anticipated excess in camera work, jarring editing, and self-indulgence but was left stunned at his conscious restraint. There are certainly moments where his particular style shines through - namely in the face-forward, almost testimonial-like character shots - but overall, he’s willingly taken a backseat to his actors and their sole, bleak yet masterfully nuanced backdrop. Brendan Fraser’s portrayal of Charlie is masterful - so complex, so poignant, so powerful. The supporting cast - especially Hong Chau - similarly rise to the occasion. There has been much debate about what message Charlie’s story is supposed to send. Is it hope? Is it redemption? Is it love? Is it pain? Is it desperation? Is it rejection? Is it despondence? Is it a loss of faith in humanity? Is it a criticism of organized religion? The answer is “yes.” It’s all of these things. Aronofsky has chosen to leave the viewer responsible for reconciling the contradictions therein, and in doing so, has created a film worthy of infinite interpretations.
In The Whale, Aronofsky posits his sadism as an intellectual experiment, challenging viewers to find the humanity buried under Charlie’s thick layers of fat. That’s not as benevolent of a premise as he seems to think it is. It proceeds from the assumption that a 600-pound man is inherently unlovable.
Brendan Fraser deserves a 10, but the movie a 6. The story lacks that, story. Yes, the story is beautiful, but it doesn't go much further, we see the case of a devastated person after a loss and how he tries, through rebuilding his relationship with his daughter, to redeem himself from his mistakes and "heal". But it doesn't go beyond that.
Blackmail and manipulative theater pièce, further weighed down by a quintal of prosthetics and even more spiritually sick than "The Fountain" . Another crap of the couple Aronofsky and A24.