Director and screenwriter Darren Aronofsky clearly enjoys traumatizing his audience with tragic works. His new film “The Whale” is probably one of the saddest of all his creations.
In general, the theme of this film taken as a basis is not new for Aronofsky, since he already in the most dramatic aspect touched upon the issues of disastrous addiction to addiction in the long-standing cult film work Requiem for a Dream.
This time, Darren takes the award-winning play of the same name and tries to create an emotionally poignant film. He seems to enjoy working with the negative sides of humanity more than the positive ones.
Undoubtedly, “The Whale” is extremely difficult to watch. Its main character is 200-kilogram Charlie, obese and swollen with fat, whose image and character in the most magnificent style was brilliantly embodied by Brendan Fraser, who returned from oblivion. With refined ease, he guides the audience through all the intricacies of the plot and the life transformations taking place with him, literally bearing the brunt of the scenario ideas.
What is the movie about
As already mentioned, “The Whale” is about Charlie, who is morbidly and overweight. He leads a secluded life and hides his latent homosexuality. Teaching English online, the protagonist hides behind a dark monitor screen under the pretext of a broken webcam, so as not to be seen by his students. And there is also a close friend – a nurse named Lizzy, who sincerely cares about him.
At the beginning of the film, Charlie looks terribly upset, causing him to show clear signs of an impending heart attack. It was at this moment that a thin boy named Thomas appeared at the door of his house.
He does not know what to do, but Charlie asks to read him an essay, which immediately calms him. When Lizzie arrives, she realizes the man has congestive heart disease with terribly high blood pressure, but he refuses to go to the hospital because he doesn’t have insurance.
Then Lizzie tells Charlie that he will die in a week if he does nothing about it, but her words are just an empty phrase for him. The fat man became so indifferent to his own health after the loss of his secret lover Alan, who committed suicide after his father disowned him for his “sinful” love for Charlie and kicked them out of the church.
Further it turns out: Lizzie is Alan’s sister. After her brother’s suicide, she began to hate the Christian religion and everything connected with it. The situation gets even worse when it becomes known that Thomas is a missionary who actually came to Charlie to try to introduce him to God’s message.
In addition, it turns out that Charlie has a daughter named Ellie from his ex-wife Mary. Finally realizing his unconventional orientation, he abandoned both without intelligible explanations.
Realizing that he is dying, Charlie tries one last time to reconnect with his daughter before handing her a huge amount of money, gaining confidence that she can take care of herself in a beautiful future.
Meaning of the movie Keith
Whatever the story behind The Whale, there is no easy way to tell the true meaning of this film. Charlie has five days to patch things up with his rebellious daughter, who resents him for leaving her when she was only eight years old. And all this because of the forbidden attraction to a representative of the same sex.
Charlie had questioned her mother about her over the years, but she had never told him about the extent of her growing daughter’s rebelliousness or the fact that she had been kicked out of school. Everyone has had a difficult relationship with their parents during their teenage years, and it is this part of the story that makes it truly tragic. Both father and daughter internally both want to see each other in their lives, but it is Mary who does not want Charlie to be in Ellie’s life.
On the other hand, Lizzie is the only person who genuinely cares about Charlie, but this forces her to endure sometimes unbearable behavior. At his capricious demand, she is forced to bring him harmful and unhealthy fast food, and at a critical moment she does not find the courage to forcefully take him to the hospital, although she is well aware that soon everything will end in death.
In the end, Mary visits her ex-husband and confesses her true desire for their family reunion, but cannot bear the thought that he will call her a bad mother, because her daughter has become completely uncontrollable and angry at the whole world around her.
But Charlie feels that Ellie isn’t really evil. And he will try to do everything in the time allotted to him to see her perfect and amazing.
Movie ending explanation
Toward the end of the film, it becomes clear that Thomas is not who he claims to be. In fact, he is a fugitive who used to be addicted to drugs and was later forced to work in prison so that he could recover.
In essence, Thomas is not a bad person, and his only goal is to help people. When he sees how the clergy define the essence of such “help” in their own way, the guy purposefully lights up with the idea to change everything.
He begins to wander from house to house and see what he can actually do for people. Unfortunately, his churchmen don’t like his ideas, so he flees to another state after stealing two thousand dollars from parish donations.
Ellie arrives and is the only person who can see through Thomas. She persuades Thomas to return home, she smokes some marijuana in front of him, advising him to take a dose. When he does, she takes pictures of him and records his revelations on her phone.
Ellie then sends the tape and photos to Thomas’ parents and the church where he stole the money, causing him to run away. Charlie’s thoughts lead to believe that Ellie’s intentions were positive and that she never meant to hurt Thomas, making her the perfect daughter in Charlie’s mind.
In turn, the ending also reveals Lizzy’s motives. For her, Charlie is a kind of replacement for her lost brother Alan. When she realizes that she too will lose him, just like she lost Alan, she cannot bear the thought of it.
She becomes brutally honest with Charlie about his condition. She doesn’t know that Charlie saved all the money from his teaching job into an account for Ellie. When she learns about this through Mary, she is devastated and cannot believe that Charlie would hide such information from her. When she was struggling to take care of him and told him to go to the hospital, the money could have been used. But he never mentioned it.
It is obvious that he is blind to Lizzie’s victims due to his love for Ellie. Before dying, Charlie asks the question: has she ever wondered if people are capable of not caring? He tells her that people are amazing, which she thinks is far from the truth. The truth is that Alan died because of the people who were supposed to take care of him. Her parents symbolically pushed him off the bridge where he died. After losing Charlie, Lizzie ends up all alone.
As the story progresses, Mary’s ex-wife comes back into Charlie’s life because of Ellie. Arriving at his house, she can’t believe the state Charlie is in after all these years. She never knew he was doing this to himself, otherwise she would have told him to use the money much sooner.
Charlie tells her about old memories together, and it is clear that Mary still loves him dearly. In an emotional outburst, Mary yells at Charlie for abandoning them and tries to start a fire at the most inopportune moment when he is about to die. This gives a connection to Charlie’s positive thoughts about humanity.
In fact, Ellie is the reason Charlie is still alive. Alan became the love of his life, but he never stopped thinking about his daughter. It’s true that he was a little distant at first, and Ellie didn’t forgive him for that.
Most likely, the departure of her father was the reason that Ellie is now a real sociopath by nature. Charlie does offer her the money he’s saved up to get her to meet him, but it’s clear from the start that she’s just looking for excuses to spend more time with him.
Ellie loves her father and wants him in her life. “Charlie’s Light at the End of the Tunnel” is Ellie’s beautifully honest essay on the Moby Dick novel. She writes that the book’s many “boring chapters” about whales are a way for the author to “spare us our own sad story,” even if only for a little while. After that, it becomes clear to viewers that the Moby Dick reference is a metaphor for Charlie and Ellie’s relationship. Charlie is a whale and Ellie is Ahab who wants to see the “big animal” humble.
Ellie loves her father and wants to reconnect with him; she just doesn’t know how. She’s gone too far in being a rebel, and now it’s too late. At her first meeting with him ten years later, she tells him to get up and approach her without a walker. When he is unable to do so, and she runs out of the house.
Now, standing on the threshold of life and death, he asks her to read her essay to him. His favorite essay in the world, the most honest. As she reads this, he finally gets up and walks towards her on his two legs. When she finishes her essay, he ascends to heaven and the screen turns white.
The ending reveals that Charlie was destined to die precisely after he managed to enter his daughter’s heart again. Then Ellie becomes clear that he really cared about her and really believed that she was an amazing person. This message suggests that she can change forever. And, perhaps, will return to normal life after the death of his beloved father.