Opinions, Pop Culture

“The Whale” makes splashes in performance, but not story

This opinion piece will contain spoilers.

“The Whale” has been considered a performance triumph, as Brendan Fraser and his cast mates have been praised for their stunning acting in this depressing drama of an obese English professor making amends with his life and daughter.

The notion has been confirmed with Academy Award nominations. Fraser is nominated for Best Actor and Hong Chau, who plays Liz, for Best Supporting Actress.

While there is no objection in this department of the film, the plot and its contents are what’s keeping it from a more legendary status.

One of the main questions that was personally asked throughout the film was, why didn’t the main character, Charlie, want to get better?

In this film, you are watching a man die.

Since he knows that he is dying, he is trying very hard to make amends with his daughter Ellie, played by Sadie Sink, after leaving her and her mother for his gay partner named Alan.

His caregiver Liz tells him multiple times that she wants him to get better and that although his condition is worsening by the day, he has the ability to go to the hospital and get help.

The film gives Charlie so many reasons to turn his life around and live for the ones he loves, but he can’t do it.

At a certain point, he stops himself from overindulging in sweets and snacks that got him to the position he’s in. But when deep diving into his condition and how deadly it is, he expedites the problem through his vices.

Because of this question, it tended the mind to be preoccupied while watching the rest of the film, keeping you from truly connecting with Fraser’s character.

But even with this question raised, the film did not fail to portray the emotions it wanted its audience members to feel at certain points.

From Charlie and his ex-wife feeling melancholy about how their relationship ended, to Liz showing her disdain for religion, this film seamlessly allows the audience to feel as if they are in the world with these characters, that these situations and emotions are real.

Not only this, but some of the parallels between Alan and Charlie’s death are interesting to look into. When shunned by his church and family, it is said that Alan commits suicide by no longer eating. Charlie eventually follows suit in the opposite way, by overeating.

Details like this keep audiences discussing the film after they’ve seen it, getting them to look into what they have seen and figure out if there are any other details that they’re still missing.

“The Whale” and its plot are not perfect.

Although Charlie is able to somewhat redeem himself as a person and father before his death, the further questions about his motivations to die rather than trying to live for others keeps this film from growing in general.

Even with this downside, the films actors, their interactions and its ability to make you feel you are part of the world you are watching entirely translates those emotions from screen to soul.

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