影片改编自Samuel D. Hunter创作的同名戏剧，讲述在爱达荷州乡村一个破旧的公寓里，重达272公斤的英语教师查理（布兰登·费舍 饰）隐居避世，固执、坚决地要把自己吃死。查理在中年时期为了同性情人抛弃家人，但情人过世后因为悲伤和内疚暴饮暴食，并且尝试与17岁的女儿艾莉（萨迪·辛克 饰）修复关系。
随着查理越来越接近不可避免的命运，他的朋友丽兹（周洪 饰），一个愤世嫉俗的无神论者护士，以及埃尔德·托马斯（泰·辛普金斯 饰），一个年轻的传教士都试图在查理身上找到能被拯救的意志，无论是肉体上还是精神上。然而，只有与查理关系疏远的女儿艾莉才能让他看到目前绝望状态之外的未来，艾莉虽然尖酸刻薄、充满仇恨、浑身是刺，查理却能在她身上找到最后一次赎罪的机会，甚至可能是一丝希望。
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. 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.” Director Darren Aronofsky’s screen adaptation of the play by out gay writer Samuel D. Hunter is built around Charlie, and Fraser commands the screen literally and figuratively. The film is shot in a 1:33:1 aspect ratio which squares the frame, condensing the space and making scenes focus tighter on the character. So, watching Charlie with all his girth, stand, walk, or even shower (in a scene that will satisfy the perversely curious) viewers will feel the effort required to achieve these simple tasks. There is power in Fraser’s performance in his wheezing and the sadness in his eyes that is heartbreaking, but the actor’s best moments are these scenes where he goes “small,” and internalizes what he is feeling — even if he is eating those feelings. This is a film about Charlie’s shame about his weight, and his sexuality, as well as his grief, and loss. It is about giving up while offering a glimmer of hope amid all the despair.
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