So many of us grew up on the movies of Brendan Fraser. Whether he was carving out his niche as an action star in THE MUMMY franchise or making us laugh through ENCINO MAN and BLAST FROM THE PAST, the actor rose to great Hollywood heights before taking a hiatus. But Fraser has been staging a comeback over the past few years, accepting challenging roles in films by Martin Scorsese and Steven Soderbergh. But it’s his lead performance in Darren Aronofsky’s THE WHALE that might finally earn him recognition from the Academy in the form of a Best Actor Oscar®.
Before THE WHALE begins screening in AMC Theatres on December 9, the movie started to impress audiences and critics at the Venice and Toronto International Film Festivals. Buzz is swirling around Fraser, his co-star Sadie Sink, and the movie itself. Here are some of the reasons why this movie should be on your radar, and why we expect it to stay in the Oscar conversation until next year’s ceremony.
Brendan Fraser Loses Himself In A Complicated Role
In THE WHALE, Brendan Fraser’s character, Charlie, is a 600-pound man working as a creative-writing professor because it allows him to teach virtually. Charlie is largely confined to his couch, has food delivered to his apartment on the regular, and receives intermittent care from the sympathetic Liz (Hong Chau).
Fraser wore a prosthetic suit to play Charlie. The point of the character is that it’s dangerous for any individual to weigh that much, and Charlie feels like his time on earth is coming to an end. Fraser conveys the complications that come with Charlie’s size through his performance. His movements and actions communicate the struggle it can be to do anything physical, and there are moments when Charlie is in so much pain and discomfort, we wince in unison with the actor.
But THE WHALE connects with the audience because Charlie also carries emotional baggage that Fraser is able to sell through his facial reactions, his delicate line deliveries, and his soulful eyes. These are elements that are natural for Fraser, as a performer, but the benefit of casting him in this part contributes to the effectiveness of THE WHALE, as a story.
Fraser Is Matched By The Fiery Sadie Sink
Powerful lead performances can only benefit from strong support, and Fraser gets tremendous assistance from STRANGER THINGS standout Sadie Sink. She plays Ellie, Charlie’s estranged daughter who has been out of his life for several years now. But Charlie hopes that they can reconnect on some level, mainly because Charlie understands that his body can’t sustain his way of living much longer.
THE WHALE is a difficult story, and some of the conversation surrounding the movie at the major film festivals was whether or not Fraser and director Darren Aronofsky were exploiting an obese character. But as you wrestle with the reality of that debate, there’s no denying that Fraser’s performance will keep you riveted to Charlie’s plight, and rooting for the reunion between father and daughter to develop before time runs out.
THE WHALE is a movie audiences will be discussing all through the Oscar season. Make sure you have a ticket to see it when it begins screening at an AMC Theatres location near you on December 9.