Brendan Fraser seems to be getting his long-awaited Hollywood comeback with The Whale.
Directed by Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Pi, Mother!), The Whale is based on the 2012 play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter, who also wrote the screenplay for the film.
The lead character, played by Fraser (who is already getting Oscar buzz), is a 600-pound middle-aged man named Charlie who lost touch with his family after coming out as gay and leaving them to be in a relationship with a man. But after that his partner passed away, Charlie started to binge eat, which resulted in him gaining weight. Now, Charlie is seeking to reconnect with his teenage daughter, played by Stranger Things and Fear Street alum Sadie Sink.
Now, The Whale has an official trailer released by A24.
Critics have been raving about The Whale and Fraser's performance ever since the film made its world debut at the 79th Venice International Film Festival. The critical reception was also very positive at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival.
On the other hand, there has also been some criticism surrounding the movie's casting and source material. Even though this role could've gone to an actor who was both fat and gay, it went to Fraser, who isn't gay and had to use prosthetics for his performance. Of note, Bros star Guy Branum called out the casting of the film and also declared that the source material for The Whale is "problematic."
"I think that the source material of The Whale is problematic. I think that it's trying to use extreme fatness as a metaphor for gay pain," Branum told Out's sister website PRIDE during an interview. "And as an actual fat gay person, I feel like my life doesn't need to be a metaphor for somebody else's pain."
"I also have real problems with the fact that they cast a straight actor who is not very fat, and [who] used prosthetics to represent fatness, in the film. I think it allows people to talk about that character as an object in a way that wouldn't be possible if it were an actual fat person who you had to look in the eyes."
Nonetheless, many Hollywood pundits have reported that the script for The Whale significantly improves the source material and that Fraser's performance makes him a major Oscar contender this upcoming Awards Season.
The Whale opens in theaters on December 9.
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