What a film! Finally talking The Whale, heard so much high praise about it but I never saw a single showtime at any theater and I knew I couldn't pass it up. I really don't want to talk about it too much cause I feel people should just see it but hey this is a review and there's good stuff to talk about. The plot isn't terribly involved, taking place almost entirely in a single apartment where we meet Charlie an online college writing professor who is quite literaly morbidly obese and is suffering from congestive heart failure as he tries to reconnect with his family. That's all you need to know walking in. It's pure high emotional storytelling, I genuinely would call it a tragedy instead of a drama, as we see just how this one man's life went on a downward spiral and he's just trying to find something positive he has done with his life. I'll level with you here today, I'm quite a large fellow. 6'5", 350 odd pounds with no rippling muscles to be seen whatsoever, I wear 4XL or 5XL shirts, I prefer wearing sweatpants for comfort, and my ring plus my shoe size is a 16, and while I'm not to the extent of Charlie or suffering major health problems it was quite easy to understand his complications with day to day living. And yes the movie did make me confront why it is the way I am today in physicality. You see this man whose heart is worn constantly on his sleeve, positivity to the Nth degree, completely honest and caring, who is constantly berated and treated so badly by his family for mistakes he did in his past and you sympathize pretty strongly. I heard a lot of bashing in the case of Charlie's daughter Ellie and while I admit she says horrible things for seemingly the most random of purposes, I can understand where it all stems from and that's an aspect the movie does incredibly well at, it simply potrays people as individuals who are not perfect. They have problems, they make mistakes, they have demons to wrestle with. I'm not entirely sure why there is a semi-prominent religious aspect to the film, it doesn't hurt the film in any way and brings up interesting points, but I don't quite get what the intention is from the writing and directing perspective. Let's switch gears to the cast real quick. Brendan, my frickin' guy, I'm so proud of you on your awards cause you really did bring it for this role, I mean I know it comes down to a combo of the script, the actor, and the director but he really did great work and his commitment to actually carrying a heavy weight on camera speaks volumes to his character. I really loved Hong Chau as Liz who is Charlie's carer, she's a hard ass but you can tell she does truly want to be there for him and at a point certain information comes to light and it poses the question of does she do it because she cares or does she do it because she feels an obligation? Which is a great talking point after the movie! Sadie Sink as Ellie is nothing but a wild card in the equation, heavy on the angst and gruffness which I know will bother some people but look at it from a teenage perspective and see if your opinion changes. Ty Simpson as a missionary named Thomas is quite good as well, sort of inexplicably drawn to Charlie for reasons of his faith but like Charlie wants to try to do positive things. I'm gonna go off on a wee tangent here but shit I fucking need to just admire teachers, as I said Charlie is an online course professor and fully encourages his students to be honest, thoughtful, and meaningful writers and it made me think a lot about how hard it is to be a teacher. You gotta make a curriculum for the year, you have to have a system of judgement to grade papers, you need to have equal parts patience and passion to educate others, that shit ain't easy so I loudly and unapologetically applaud teachers of all sorts. And his message of writing with honesty and meaning, to commit to the words on the page, emboldened me because that's how I prefer to write. Uncensored, undiluted, speaking my mind with zero reservations because it's who I am. It's a very well written movie with solid moments of catharsis near the end, understandable characters, and a very small scale but engrossing story. And that ending got me, I couldn't shut up, I was just like, "You fucking bastard Darren Aronofsky, you actually did that." man that goes to show how into this movie I was. It might not be the best movie I've seen all year but it most certainly was a great movie. I give it 4 stars, 8.5/10, and we're going to do something a little different than usual tomorrow so stay tuned.
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