An eating disorder story that barely scratches the surface.
Ooooooh your last line is key.
I'm also perplexed by how many reviewers aren't taking into account Aronofsky's oeuvre. Requiem for a Dream: the prostitutes at an office party scene? Unnecessary and exploitative? showing an overhead of Jared Leto in the anatomical position, but with a mangled arm? unnecessary and exploitative? I find Aronofsky movies difficult to watch, but not because they're bad. Because they're unflinching.
I have not seen The Whale and truthfully it will probably be the first Aronofsky film I don't see. But, your review is incredibly thoughtful, bjective and generous given what you share about your own experience. If I do decide to watch it despite what seems like pretty big shortcomings, I will be considering what you've written and shared in your review.
I'm glad I went ahead and checked out this review, spoilers aside. Films that depict fatness or overeating in passing to emphasize a character's spiritual malaise or some other theme are a dime a dozen, but when I try to think of films that are explicitly *about* being very overweight, or binge eating, I'm hard pressed to think of any. I guess there's that movie "Fat" from 2013 which I never saw. Definitely not a topic easily romanticized for the screen in the way that, say, alcoholism has been. From your description it sounds like more of a character-driven movie than a topical one, and I wonder if that might have led to pushback from people who wanted more social commentary.
Definitely more motivated to see it now!
I haven’t seen it yet but have been hearing things! I really appreciate you sharing your view!
I got around to watching the movie on Sunday and it was an emotional watch, I cried a lot. In the binge scenes, I saw myself in Charlie, it felt uncomfortable watching how he harmed himself and knowing I had done the same to myself for many years. I wouldn't describe it as exploitative either.