This past month, Brendan Fraser won the Oscar for best actor in a 2022 movie with his performance in ‘The Whale.’ And even though many critics had issues with the film as a whole, they all agreed that the cast’s performance, specifically Fraser’s, vastly improved the film.
Prior to the recently generated hype around the film, though, I hadn’t even heard of it. After hearing over and over again about how mind-blowing Fraser’s performance was, I had to sit down and watch the movie.
The psych-drama film, directed by esteemed filmmaker Darren Aronofsky follows a morbidly obese man named Charlie (Brendan Fraser) as he tries to rebuild his relationship with his teenage daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink) who he abandoned when she was just eight years old. After his partner passed away, Charlie continuously and habitually ate his way to his immobile status.
Throughout the movie, Charlie, who realizes that he’s dying, is attempting to convince himself that he’s succeeded with Ellie as a means of proving that humanity is good – despite the fact that his life is clearly beyond miserable.
Charlie’s life is an intricate study of depression, addiction, rationality, and regret. And in that regard, the film knocks it out of the ballpark.
For the rest of this article though, I don’t even want to discuss how I feel about the movie itself. It was absolutely phenomenal, and yes, Fraser gave a performance deserving of the “best-of-the-year” title. The movie’s been out for months now though, and I can’t really add anything new to that discussion. Just, if you haven’t yet watched it, please do.
The title of this article addresses philosophy specifically, but can really apply to all of the different fields of study – and regardless of how important this attribute is in media, it’s never talked about enough.
I absolutely LOVE philosophy, and the joy that I get in seeing others talk about it in relation to the films that they’ve watched is immeasurable.
Do these young teenagers in TikTok comments really understand all of the intricacies of the displayed battle between nihilism, hope, existentialism, and all of these other complex topics? Well, for the most part, probably not. But it’s this kind of digestible media that sparks this interest for people. And that, in itself, is enough reason for media to be crucial for humanity.
When I was 14, I watched the social justice film ‘Just Mercy,’ and from that point on, I knew I wanted to be a public defender – so that I could help those who need legal representation the most. And the portrayals of this noble career in that movie have subconsciously pushed me to pursue that dream every day since.
Movies, and storytelling in a broader sense, are not just entertainment. They’re not just art. These forms of media are the visualizations of our dreams and ambitions. In sparking these discussions and interests, media will push people to succeed in field that we desperately need success in.
‘The Whale’ was an emotional masterpiece that told a story of conflicting philosophies, leaving it up to the viewer to interpret how humanity should be viewed. Its compelling message has already dragged me back into the fascinating world of philosophy.
I have no doubt in my mind that this film will spark new interests in philosophy for young people everywhere, and that is the value of a good film. Visualizing the wildest of ambitions of random individuals everywhere.
When the next Socrates cites The Whale as an early memory in their own philosophical journey, you all can come back to this article. Thanks for reading – I’ll get back to non-tangential movie reviews next month.