The Whale movie review - Aussieboyreviews


No pun intended, but this heavy drama on living with morbid obesity makes you forget your watching a movie; it feels like a real man’s personal struggle. The Whale’s mood, performances and emotionality make it one of the best movies of the year.


A reclusive English teacher suffering from morbid obesity attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.

Movie Images

Movie details

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Cast: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, Samantha Morton
Writer: Samuel D. Hunter
Release Date (Australia): 2 February 2023
Runtime: 117 minutes/1h 57m
Genre: Drama
Country: USA
Language: English

CONTENT GUIDE (warning: May contain spoilers)

Themes (M)

The film contains mature themes relating to morbid obesity, death, family disputes and mental health. There are also depictions of binge eating and an obese man vomiting afterwards, as well as verbal references to suicide, mental illness and violence.

Coarse Language (M)

The film includes use of the word “f**k”, in addition to use of the words “s**t”, “bitch” and “**shole”.

Drug Use (M)

The film includes depictions of characters smoking marijuana and features multiple verbal references to “pot”.

Sex (M)

The film contains a scene in which a man is depicted masturbating to gay pornography, in which the footage briefly depicts a man thrusting into another man. The film also contains multiple sexual references including use of the word “f**k” in a sexual context.

mpaa rating

R (for language, some drug use and sexual content)

Aussie boy's thoughts

The Whale is one of those rare gems where you literally forget about your surroundings and completely invest in the emotionally draining story, the fabulous direction and the Oscar-worthy performances each unfolding on screen. If you’re familiar with director Darren Aronofsky’s previous melodramatic, surreal or psychological projects, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that this one is worth a nomination due to its intense emotional power.

The entire film, other than a couple of scenes, is set mainly in one room in the apartment of a morbidly obese English teacher, and the film covers a week in which he attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter while he suffers from obesity. The Whale isn’t at all the case of leaving you messed up for some time after you watch them, which how Aronofsky’s Requiem for a Dream and Mother! work. But it still proves he has the talent for executing raw concepts you get sucked into very quickly.

On the other hand, Brendan Fraser’s role in this movie is a completely seperate talent. He truly gives the performance of a lifetime as he plays Charlie, the main character suffering from morbid obesity who takes the spotlight in this movie. Seriously, no words can describe his (no pun intended) incredibly heavy and hard-moving acting skills he gets the opportunity to show us. The Whale is a very entertaining and marvellously directed, yet just above only an average and decently-written experience. But the stars shoot right up because of Brendan Fraser. Being able to portray frustration and obvious care with Charlie, Stranger Things’ actress Sadie Sink and every other supporting role deserves major acclaim as well.

Plenty of films today rely on convincing performances to engage us in a story that’s completely uninteresting, boring and unoriginal, and they still turn out to be rubbish movies with good casting. But Brendan Fraser makes this movie entertaining, he makes you empathise with his character and he overall just makes you forget you’re watching a screenplay roll out. This film feels like real life and you actually feel like there’s an entire life’s story that stretches beyond the movie. Another element this film relies on is its soundtrack, which critics are claiming it’s used unnecessarily and displays a lack of trust in the actors, but the soundtrack is honestly beautiful and increases the emotions of many scenes, especially the unusually bittersweet ending.

Thank you for reading this page and for more Aussie Boy reviews, visit