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The Whale

Well firstly, Brendan Fraser genuinely is as good as you’ve heard from everyone else since this started playing at festivals. He plays an emotionally complex character who you just can’t help but feel a deep sense of endearment for, I suppose not unlike his real self to a certain extent. The visual of this person could have been so unbelievable if it wasn’t for Brendan delivering such an authentic performance to ground it.

The story is almost the opposite of a magical realist piece. We’re presented with a fantastical vision of a man with a simple life, but rather than the limits of reality being pushed to portray something hopeful, we actually get given something really quite dismal. We find Charlie, the central character, in a state of deep unhappiness that’s led him to self-medicate with food. But in that unhappiness, the thing that’s emphasised the most is what a beautiful person there is underneath it all.

I’m not afraid to share that this hit me like a brick, and that I spent a good amount of time worried that the person either to my left or my right in the Royal Festival Hall would see what a blubbering mess this film had reduced me to. My hope is that The Whale will do as well with wider audiences once it’s released to the general public, and that we might all learn to be a bit more tolerant as a result of it. Especially after the last few years.

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