The buzz around Darren Aronofsky’s critically-acclaimed film The Whale does not sound pleasing to both the director and its main star, Brendan Fraser. Some fans are accusing the movie of promoting fatphobia. Moreover, people are criticizing the casting and the use of prosthetics.
Aronofsky has responded to the accusations and defended his decision to cast Fraser. In September, Mean Girls actor Daniel Franzese raised the question of why they did not hire an actual queer obese guy for the role. Fraser had to use a fat suit or prosthetics to transform himself into a 600-pound English teacher struggling with obesity.
Darren Aronofsky Says The Fatphobia Accusations On The Whale Movie “Makes No Sense”
Indeed, the criticisms do not make any sense for the fact that Brendan Fraser is the perfect actor to portray the role. The use of make-up and prosthetics is necessary to look the part. Fraser had the ability to translate the character’s personality into the screen, and Aronofsky saw that in him.
Some critics also called the movie’s representation of Charlie’s body “abhorrent,” and other column writers labeled the film “exploitative.” Movies like The Whale is always open to various interpretations, and audience reception speaks volumes. It is important to view the film through the lens of the director, as Aronofsky claims “an exercise in empathy.”
Fraser also reiterated that Charlie is not only portrayed as an obese person, but also as a teacher and a father. Viewers sometimes forget that the focus on the main character is not only on his eating disorder but also on his family relationships and his mental health, too. Charlie is portrayed as a well-rounded character.
Fans Show Appreciation For Brendan Fraser’s Character Amidst Backlash
Despite the accusations of fatphobia and Fraser’s casting, fans are still warm towards the movie. The Whale became the biggest limited opening in 2022, the director’s biggest achievement since Black Swan in 2010. The film sold out all tickets over the weekend in six theaters, earning $360,000 for a per-screen average of $60,000. This proves that no backlash could ever bring down a well-made film.
The success of The Whale, and Brendan Fraser’s major spotlight comeback, showed that people are becoming more open-minded to talking about the struggles of being a human. Not only did the film pave the way to raise awareness on the topic of obesity, but also brought back one of Hollywood’s most beloved actors of all time.
The Whale is currently playing in select theaters.