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Larger than life: "The Whale" is an uplifting film, with a pulsating performance by Brendan Frazier - voila! culture


"The Whale" gave Brendan Frazier his comeback, in a remarkable role as a man who swelled to the size of a marine mammal, but there is much more to the film than that, and it is incredibly human and moving. Do not miss

Clip from the movie "The Whale" (Heart Cinema)

Star rating for movies - 5 stars (photo: photo processing, .)

Thanks to "Requiem for a Dream", "Black Swan" and other films, Darren Aronofsky has become one of the most prominent Hollywood directors of our time, and is known as one who is always looking for challenging and even provocative projects.

About a decade ago, he read an enthusiastic review of "The Whale", Samuel Hunter's play about an English lecturer who, following a personal tragedy, became addicted to emotional eating and swelled to the dimensions of the animal the play is named after.

The filmmaker ran to the theater, was enthusiastic about what he saw and immediately decided to bring the play to the screen, but the project stalled because he could not find the right actor for the lead role.

All this changed when one night he chanced upon a clip from an insignificant film starring Brendan Frazier, who was a star in blockbusters like "The Mummy" but then disappeared from the radar, and experienced an epiphany - this is exactly the actor he was looking for.

The result is "The Whale", which premiered here this weekend with a host of Oscar nominations, including for the performance of Frazier, who is considered one of the leading candidates for the win.

You can understand why: Hollywood loves comeback stories, and loves the kind of roles he does here.

The actor underwent a physical transformation and wears a fat suit to play a character that weighs hundreds of kilograms, and in addition goes through a lot of physical torment, exactly the kind that brings figurines.

In one of the difficult moments, the hero here vomits his soul, and thus this film joins "The Triangle of Sadness" and "Babylon" in the parade of talked about films released this year that present a graphic scene of vomiting.

Frazier is good at playing the hero in his low moments, but also in his high moments.

Aronofosky said that he chose the actor because he had passion, life and light - and indeed, the budding star brings all of these to the fore here, in a performance full of pain and joy in equal measure.

barely comes out.

From "The Whale" (Photo: Lev Cinema)

Despite all this, it would be an injustice to categorize "The Whale" as Frazier's show of purpose and nothing else.

His return to the screen and the way he did it did help the film grab headlines and record a relative box office success in the United States, but it is far from reflecting the full picture.

First of all, there are other impressive performances in the film - for example, by Hong Chao who plays the nurse who feeds the human whale, who has trouble moving and functioning on his own, and especially by Sadie Sink, who broke out in the "Strange Things" series.

Here, she plays the hero's estranged daughter, who comes to visit him on his deathbed.

The "whale" is endowed with the arms of an octopus, and he sends them to deal with various issues.

Over time it becomes clear what the tragedy is that led the hero to binge eating, and then it turns out that this is a film about gluttony, but also about hunger, and at the same time also about guilt, faith and redemption.

Over time it becomes clear that the name "whale" is also ambiguous.

It refers to the blacksmith of the hero, but also to "Moby Dick", the great classic of American literature which, as you remember, deals with the hunting of a whale.

Throughout the film, the English teacher returns again and again to the essay his daughter wrote in middle school about the book, which became his favorite piece of paper in the world.

She deserved the nomination as well.

Sadie Sink in "The Whale" (Photo: Lev Cinema)

Why is the protagonist so attached to this essay?

for two reasons.

As a lecturer in English literature, who has dedicated his life to the subject, the thing that excites him the most is a sensitive and original analysis of texts.

He has already given up on his students, college students who submit uninspired essays to him, and it is precisely in the work his daughter wrote when she was much younger that he finds the spark.

The hero enjoys reading this essay every time, because it reminds him of what he believes in with all his heart: his daughter is the whole of perfection.

He worships her, puts her at the center of his existence and is ready to do anything for her.

During the film we will also find out what he sacrificed for her.

All these things happen even though the hero of "The Whale" is barely able to move, and certainly not to leave the house.

Almost the entire film takes place in the apartment, and most of it in the living room.

Despite the theatrical setting, Aronofsky makes the result incredibly cinematic.

Together with his permanent partner, the photographer Matthew Liebtik, he finds in this space and takes out of this space a whole world.

As in "Requiem for a Dream", the two benefit from photographing the sun's rays.

Every time they enter the apartment, they reflect the inner world of the characters, which remains beautiful even when its external appearance is not necessarily so.

All the details in the apartment are important.

In the hero's bookcase, "Call It Sleep" by Henry Roth stands out, one of the most important novels in the history of Jewish-American literature.

Aronofsky himself is Jewish, and dedicated the film to his parents, both of whom are traditional Jews.

Like the hero they are teachers, but in their case they taught in Jewish schools.

between Judaism and Christianity.

From "The Whale" (Photo: Lev Cinema)

On the other hand, Aronofsky transports the hero in the Via Dolorosa.

He did the same in his previous films, but this time the Christian symbolism is even more prominent.

The parallel between the main character and Jesus is also significant for many other reasons, which cannot be discussed without revealing too many plot details.

What can be said is that in "The Whale" there is a fascinating clash between Christian symbols and Jewish elements, which of course reflects the complexity of the Jewish-American identity.

Because Aronofsky tends to put his heroes on the cross, there is a tendency to see him as a sadistic director.

In fact, he is a filmmaker full of compassion, kindness and faith - qualities he may have inherited from his parents, and it's not just that the film is dedicated to them.

Aronofsky believes that man is fundamentally good, wants his good, and regrets when he is harmed.

One of the things that initially attracted him to "The Whale" was a sentence that the hero says in the show about caring for others, and of course he says it in the movie as well.

God God that will never end.

From "The Whale" (Photo: Lev Cinema)

"The Whale" believes, truly and sincerely, that we are all guarantors to each other, that everyone deserves love, that words have power, that it is never too late to forgive, and also that one memory can give meaning to an entire life, and he expresses his belief in a pulsating way.

I was moved to tears when I watched it, I cry when I think about it even now.

This one memory is related to the beach, and is one of the only moments when the "whale" goes outside the house, but sometimes you don't need more than that.

In light of the place where this memory takes place, in light of the fact that the hero's daughter is called "Eli" and in light of what Oronofsky believes in, it is impossible not to remember the song by Hana Senesh - in its first version;

A song that in a few lines sums up the entire movie to

me, which will never stop:

the sand and the sea,

the rustle of the water, the

shine of the sky, the

trust in man.

  • culture

  • Theater


  • Brendan Frazier

  • Darren Aronofsky

  • Moby Dick

  • Oscar

Source: walla

All tech articles on 2023-01-26

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