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A Whale Moved Me : My Film Review on "The Whale"

Updated: Dec 18, 2023

The Whale. A man, a daughter, a youth missionary, a nurse & sister, an ex-wife, a pizza delivery guy. And the whale.


I want to be very honest. I had never heard of this movie before the Oscars. I was only watching the Oscars because I absolutely loved Everything Everywhere All At Once and because Elephant Whisperers was nominated. I was honestly not even intrigued very much by this movie’s trailer. But it was Brendan Fraser’s speech that got me. It moved me. I have never seen his work or known who he was, but his speech is what moved me. And I knew I had to watch this movie.


{edit}- after I wrote this with an emotional passion right after watching the film, I realized I did know who he was. I mean I’ve binged watched George of the Jungle & Journey to the Center of the Earth a million times as a kid, but I just didn’t realize it was him in The Whale.


I knew it was a heavy film. I wanted to watch it in a time & space when I could watch it with an open mind without going into a dark space myself. I know, I know, it’s “just a film”. But I’m just one of those people who gets integrated into the tone, feel, music, & storyline of a film when I walk out of a theatre, or when I get up for a glass of water after a movie session at home. It moves something. That’s how I know I liked it. I had a feeling I was going to like this film.


I waited for weeks for the perfect time, and then ended up watching it on a Saturday afternoon, after I had just had a mental breakdown, felt alone & just wanted to somehow get through the day. Hilarious, I know. Well, anyway, here I am- I’ve just seen the film, and by just I mean literally just. I saw the film and knew I had to write about it.


{edit}- i originally wrote this article on 23rd September, 2023, after which i went into a writer's spiral of "is it good enough?"

A film review? A journal entry? I don’t know, you can be the judge of that. I just know I need to write about it.


SPOILER ALERT: If you don’t want to experience the storyline before watching it, don’t proceed.


To put the whole movie into a simple sentence- An overweight man with a sad past wants to tell his daughter she is perfect one last time. But there’s a lot more to the movie & its storyline than just this. There’s Liz, Charlie’s deceased partner’s sister and his nurse. Personally, she was my favourite character in the film. Because she seemed so brash & on your face, but in her truest sense, she was just the most empathetic character in the whole film. She cared. She gave us the moral of the film in her first scene itself.


Then there’s Sadie Sink’s character, Ellie. I’m going to be honest, I didn’t like her very much in the beginning. She was rude, mean, invasive of personal space & almost as her mother puts it “evil”. But that’s the thing, she isn’t. Again, she’s all of these things because she truly cares, probably more than someone sugar-coating it for you. Are her ways the most advisable? No. Are they always taken in the right sense? No. But that’s Ellie, she doesn’t care but does care. A lot.


Note: The above pictures are from Flickering Myth, Travels with JB, The Mary Sue, & The Face. (in order of left to right & up to down)


And Thomas. The young missionary. The sketchy young missionary who later reveals to be a troubled teenager who has simply lost his way back home. Ellie’s saving not only reveals her true personality trait of caring but also reveals Thomas’ true feelings about how the world functions, especially when it comes to his religion & life.

Another character I liked was of Mary, Ellie’s mother and Charlie’s ex-wife. She appears in simply one scene but what a strong scene! That scene is probably the most pivotal scene in the film. It reveals each character’s true intentions & unabashed feelings and it’s the aftermath of the same scene that once again, takes us in-depth into each character’s role in Charlie’s story & life.


Now, this might be cliché or mainstream, but my favourite moment in the film is the very last shot when Charlie walks up to Ellie without support while she reads out her Moby Dick essay to him. And how he then floats away with a gasp!


It would be extremely unfair of me to write a whole article on this movie & its beautiful writing, story, and characters, without mentioning the contribution of the actors, the performers of this movie. Without them, this movie would have never had the same impact. It would have never made me cry. It was Brendan Fraser & Sadie Sink who made me cry. Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, and Samantha Morton made me feel something.


I might not be able to relate to this movie directly, but we can all relate to those moments of feeling like the only person on this sometimes seeming pointless planet, of wanting to make someone else feel worthwhile so that we can feel like we have made a small change in atleast someone’s life. We can all relate to the feeling of the dilemma of wanting to care but not knowing if we should or not, if caring too much will end up with us crying in the middle of the night or caring too less will make us less human. To the feeling of not wanting to let go of that one person in our life. To the feeling of wanting to hold on, for just a moment longer.


I watched The Whale and it moved me. Have you given it a watch? If yes, I can’t wait to know what you thought about it(in the comments below)! If not, I hope I convinced you to watch it now. If there’s still some hesitation, I’m going to link below Brendan Fraser’s Oscar acceptance speech. Maybe whatever moved me, moves you too.



Thanks for reading! If you liked this article, please drop a like and share it with your family and friends, and for further blog updates follow me on my Instagram handle @helzeeblog , on Wix and also on YouTube. See you next time! Till then, always remember, Be brave. Be strong. Be great.💛


~ helzeee 💛


Note: The featured image used for this blog is by an amazing illustrator https://www.behance.net/wagnerdiesel

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About Me

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Lifestyle | Self-growth

Storyteller at my core & writer at my front, I'm here to share stories with you that help you see the magic in the world.💛

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