It’s awards season, which means we’re hearing a lot about the hottest films that are likely to take home gold in the coming months. Perhaps none is getting more talk than Brendan Fraser’s The Whale. Let’s find out when Aussies can potentially, maybe, one day watch it.
The Whale: Everything you need to know about the movie
What is the plot of The Whale?
The Whale is an adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play which won the Drama Desk Award and Lucille Lortel Award for outstanding play when it debuted Off-Broadway. Hunter also penned the screenplay for the film adaptation here.
This is what we can expect from the plot:
From Darren Aronofsky comes The Whale, the story of a reclusive English teacher living with severe obesity who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter for one last chance at redemption.
Where was The Whale filmed?
Filming for The Whale took place in Newburgh, New York for just over a month in 2021.
The film is directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan) and is his first project since mother! was released in 2017.
Is this Brendan Fraser’s comeback?
One of the massive drawcards of The Whale is Brendan Fraser in the lead role of Charlie. While Fraser has acted in plenty of projects over the past years, many are calling The Whale the actor’s comeback as he gives a potentially career-defining performance.
THR’s review of the film says “in a film about salvation, it’s the inextinguishable humanity of Fraser’s performance that floors you.”
Audiences at the Venice Film Festival gave Fraser a standing ovation which resulted in some very emotional scenes for the actor.
— Ramin Setoodeh (@RaminSetoodeh) September 4, 2022
Fraser told Vanity Fair that he worked closely with the Obesity Action Coalition to help understand the disease and immersed himself to help grasp the portrayal of people with heavier weight bodies.
“I learned quickly that it takes an incredibly strong person inside that body to be that person. That seemed fitting and poetic and practical to me, all at once.” Fraser told the outlet.
Who else is in the cast?
While much of the attention will go to Fraser, The Whale boasts an incredible supporting cast.
Stranger Things star Sadie Sink appears as Charlie’s daughter Ellie and Hong Chau (Homecoming) is also said to give a scene-stealing performance as Charlie’s nurse, Liz.
Samantha Morton (The Walking Dead, In America) plays Mary, Charlie’s ex-wife, and Ty Simpkins (Iron Man 3) is Thomas, a religious missionary.
First look at Sadie Sink in Darren Aronofsky’s THE WHALE pic.twitter.com/C78aHlIUlZ
— Film Updates (@FilmUpdates) August 31, 2022
The Whale: Trailer
In the lead-up to The Whale’s release in the U.S. in December, A24 has released the official trailer for the film. It’s mainly filled with accolades of Fraser’s performance but there are a few peeks at the characters in there too.
What are the reviews saying?
The Whale tackles a lot of difficult themes amongst which are food addiction, obesity and fat-shaming, self-destruction and sexual orientation. So far it’s tracking favourably with critics and sits at 66% on Rotten Tomatoes at the time of writing.
Reviews have universally praised Fraser’s performance, but cited plot and tonal issues as some of The Whale’s problems.
“The Whale can, for much of its running time, feel tonally muddled. Dark comedy juts against deep emotion, languor bumps against speed. Characters give speeches about religion, and they deliver blunt passages of exposition that can feel awkward,” Bilge Ebiri from Vulture wrote.
“The Whale while it has a captivating character at its center, turns out to be equal parts sincerity and hokum,” said Variety’s Owen Gleiberman.
When can you watch The Whale in Australia?
The Whale premiered at the Venice Film Festival on September 4, 2022 and is set for a U.S. release date on December 9.
We now know that the premiere screening of the film will be on Sunday, January 22 as part of Westpac’s Open Air Cinema program.
A release date has also appeared on cinema websites with Hoyts listing The Whale’s release date as February 2 in Australia. Keep an eye out closer to the time for session details.
While you wait, here are some other major movies releasing in 2022.