The Whale

  • 117'
  • United States
  • 2022

Charlie is a writing instructor, well-liked by his students, though they have never seen him. His classes take place via Zoom, never with the camera on, and always with some throwaway excuse as to why. The truth is that Charlie is a recluse and his class III obesity poses grave risks to his health. Living in a remote house in Idaho and mourning the loss of his partner, he receives few visitors apart from his nurse friend, a door-to-door evangelist, and, one day, his petulant and estranged teenage daughter. As the source of Charlie’s pain becomes apparent, so does the clarity of him being in absolute control of his destiny.

Adapting the play by Samuel D. Hunter, with its small cast and spare production, Darren Aronofsky has crafted an essential Covid-era film, though the project had been in gestation for much longer. Despite its economy, The Whale is emotionally charged and brutal at times, with a soulful, career-best performance by Brendan Fraser, marking his first on-screen appearance at IFFR.

Exploring trauma, self-acceptance and physical hardship, the story also alludes to Moby Dick, the novel so beloved by Charlie. Characteristic of Aronofsky’s films, The Whale has provoked audiences and critics alike, but is arguably his most compassionate and lean film yet.

 

Michelle Carey

  • 117'
  • United States
  • 2022
Director
Darren Aronofsky
Premiere
Dutch Premiere
Country of production
United States
Year
2022
Festival Edition
IFFR 2023
Length
117'
Medium
DCP
Language
English
Producers
Jeremy Dawson, Ari Handel, Darren Aronofsky
Production Companies
Protozoa Pictures, A24
Sales
A24
Screenplay
Samuel D. Hunter
Cinematography
Matthew Libatique
Editor
Andrew Weisblum
Production Design
Mark Friedberg
Music
Rob Simonsen
Cast
Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, Samantha Morton
Local Distributor
Cinéart Netherlands

Tickets

Q&As are subject to change and may be cancelled at the last minute
  • In Person
    Friday 27 January 2023
    Pathé 5
    For professionals
  • In Person
    Friday 27 January 2023
    Pathé 1
    With Q&A+NL subtitles
  • In Person
    Saturday 28 January 2023
    LantarenVenster 3
    NL subtitles
  • In Person
    Wednesday 01 February 2023
    Pathé 5
    NL subtitles
  • In Person
    Friday 03 February 2023
    • VPRO Review: ochtend/middag/avond (main programme)
    • The Whale (part of the programme)
    LantarenVenster 1
  • In Person
    Friday 03 February 2023
    Oude Luxor
    NL subtitles
Director
Darren Aronofsky
Premiere
Dutch Premiere
Country of production
United States
Year
2022
Festival Edition
IFFR 2023
Length
117'
Medium
DCP
Language
English
Producers
Jeremy Dawson, Ari Handel, Darren Aronofsky
Production Companies
Protozoa Pictures, A24
Sales
A24
Screenplay
Samuel D. Hunter
Cinematography
Matthew Libatique
Editor
Andrew Weisblum
Production Design
Mark Friedberg
Music
Rob Simonsen
Cast
Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, Samantha Morton
Local Distributor
Cinéart Netherlands