Montclair Film Festival Features Movie “The Whale”

By: Gabrielle Mills, Follow South Jersey Intern

Actor Brendan Fraser discuses his latest movie, “The Whale,” at the 11th Annual Montclair Film Festival in October.

MONTCLAIR, N.J. – Montclair New Jersey’s 11th annual film festival, which ran from October. 21 – 31, boasts guests such Stephen Colbert, Daniel Craig, and Bendan Fraser in his critically acclaimed comeback spectacle, “The Whale.”

“The Whale,” directed by Darren Aronofsky of Black Swan fame, chronicles Charlie, a divorced college professor suffering from morbid obesity and crippling grief after loosing his boyfriend to suicide. 

Based on a play by screenwriter Samuel D Hunter, the story is one of redemption and loss. Rob Simonsen’s score highlights Charlie’s physical and mental limitations. Each walk from the couch to the counter felt like scaling everest. The swell of the music, indicating Charlie’s own struggle and confinement. 

Despite this, Aronofsky and Fraser, in turn, mostly treat Charlie’s situation with dignity. The audience is meant to see Charlie as he is, a victim of depression and personal loss. However the film also asks us, the audience directly, to confront our own fatphobia. At one point, just shy of breaking the fourth wall, Charlie asks “are you disgusted by me?”  

“We worked with the Obesity Action Coalition in order to learn Charlie as a corporeal being. Fraser stated [We learned how] food is an addiction.” 

After the screening which received a standing ovation, the audience was greeted by Stephen Colbert and Brendan Fraser himself. Faiser seemed both appreciative and overwhelmed by the crowd’s positive response. He discussed the rather intense filming process.

“It was shot during Covid,” Fraiser said. “[We had] three weeks to rehearse this, each day felt like it was the first and last time we’d get to do this.”

“The Whale” is Fraser’s first starring role in years, while many are calling it the “Brennaissance” Fraser explains his absence wasn’t without intent. 

“I did take some time off in my professional career, ” he stated “It was important for me to do that. I wanted to be a part of things I care about. This was an opportunity, [doing] the polar opposite of what they would expect me to do to catch their eye” 

“The Whale” is set to release on December 9 in the US.

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