Brendan Fraser gives the performance in his career in The Whale, a morbidly obese shut-it who is trying to get to know is estranged teenage daughter before heart disease finally kills him.
The film itself is populated by Charlie (Fraser), his daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink), his nurse Liz (Hong Chau), and a young religious man trying to spread God’s word. Charlie’s ex-wife (Samantha Morton) makes an appearance so the two characters can finally come to terms with their past. It is Ellie, though, that Charlie most wants to connect with, even when she is unwilling and bitter that he wasn’t present in most of her life.
The story is average but engrossing enough that I didn’t notice where it was lacking. It’s the performances of Fraser, Sink, and Chau that really hold the film together. Each deserves a round of award nominations, especially Fraser who is a far better actor than much of his early career showed. It can be hard to watch at times when Charlie is trying to move around or when he is binge eating everything in sight. The character is intent on killing himself because he believes he deserves nothing more.
Be prepared if you watch this. It’s genuinely heartbreaking to watch. It had me in tears, but it is certainly watchable and Fraser’s performance is something you shouldn’t miss.