Brendan Fraser Becomes a Whale for The Whale


Alex Arbogast

Brendan Fraser wins Oscar “Best Actor” for the Whale. He starred in the psychological drama that came out in December 2022. This was an independent film and was nominated for many Academy awards as well. When they announced his name to win an Oscar, he was very emotional. The work that went into the film was unmatched and very well deserved. He apparently gained 200 pounds to portray the obese protagonist Charlie. Brendan Fraser has starred in other movies like The Mummy and George of the Jungle. He was grateful in his acceptance speech thanking everyone that helped the production. He broke down crying and added many whale metaphors in his speech.

This story entails a 600 pound English teacher who does not use his camera online because he is ashamed of himself. He had a wife and daughter and decided to leave his family for a male student of his. This boyfriend of his was converted to New Life Church and they took his life from him. This led Charlie, played out by Brendan Fraser, to put on hundreds of pounds which would eventually kill him. His obesity and heart issues were taken care of by his friend, Liz played by Hung Chau, who is also a nurse. A missionary from the same church comes into Charlie’s life once he is dying and wants to save him with God’s spirit.

With the acceptance of his death, he would like to rekindle his relationship with his daughter Ellie played by Stranger Things star Sadie Sink before it is too late. He offers to pay her all this money he has saved up which was an agreement with the mother anyways. This money he had saved up amounted to $100,000. The mother was unaware of this arrangement they made and he continued to help Ellie in school. Despite the fact, Ellie hates her father for what he did and says and does lots of disgusting things to him. Such as calling him “a fat piece of shit” and giving him sleeping pills. It is a very difficult situation Ellie was put in and everyone would act differently to someone who did what he did. No matter what, Charlie embraced the last special times he was able to spend with her and he loved her.

The nurse who did not like the missionary either because they took her brother as well, she hated the idea of Ellie being around Charlie. She reported to the mother that they were spending time together and she was very angry. Charlie and his ex wife actually got along well the time they were together again. They all realized his time was coming up so everyone was all emotional. She was angry about him telling Ellie about the cash and it was an arrangement they had for when she turned 18. After his ex-wife and daughter left, he began to binge eat and drink soda to kill him once and for all.

He has never shown his face as a teacher and the night of the binge-eating, he asked his students to not do homework and just share an honest statement. The next day in class he shared those statements to the class and decided it was his time to be honest as well. He turned his camera on for the first time. The students were shocked, laughing, and taking pictures. After those reactions he slammed his computer and never taught them again.

He had Ellie and Liz over that day and they didn’t call the ambulance, he accepted it. He never wanted help from the doctors all this time, he always rejected them and always apologized to Liz for the burden he caused her. Liz checked his vitals and left Ellie and Charlie alone and waited outside. Every time he feels he is dying, he likes to hear this summary of Moby Dick. At the beginning of the movie, he had the missionary recite it because he felt as if he was dying.The final time he requests Ellie to recite the summary and as she reads it she realizes this was her middle schooling writing on Moby Dick. He passes away in his chair but his soul comes up and hugs her one last time.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, as this is my type of movie I typically enjoy. There were so many hard-hitting quotes in this “I need to know I have done one thing right in my life”- Charlie. Just quotes like that were super depressing and felt so real in the moment due to Brendan Fraser’s impeccable acting. On letterboxd, I gave this a four out of five stars. This earned a 65% on rotten tomatoes which is actually quite mid-tier, even though this has been nominated for so many awards. The Oscar was once again very well deserved due to the amount of weight Brendan Fraser gained for this film. That took dedication and commitment and when you tie in the acting piece, it was quite obvious he was going to win. I recommend this film to anyone looking for a psychological drama or just a more recent movie as it is still in theatres.