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Starring: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Hong Chau, Samantha Morton, Ty Simpkins
OUR RATING: ★★★☆☆
A24 psychological drama directed by Darren Aronofsky. The Whale (2022) centers on obese middle-aged reclusive English teacher Charlie (Brendan Fraser), who tries to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter, Ellie (Sadie Sink), for one last chance at redemption. The two grew apart after Charlie left his family for a man, who later died, causing Charlie to then binge eat out of pain and guilt.
Our Favorite Quotes:'Do you ever get the feeling people are incapable of not caring? People are amazing.' - Charlie (The Whale) Click To Tweet
Thomas: You need help.
Charlie: I don’t go to hospitals.
Thomas: [referring to the essay on Moby-Dick] Why did you have me read it to you?
Charlie: Because I thought I was dying. And I wanted to hear it one last time.
Liz: You should have called an ambulance.
Charlie: With no health insurance?
Liz: Being in debt is better than being dead. What’s wrong with you?
Liz: You’re wheezing.
Charlie: I always wheeze, Liz.
Liz: You’re wheezing more.
Liz: F***ing hate New Life. My dad forced me to go when I was a kid. It was awful, growing up with all that “end times” bulls**t. You’re young. Why the hell would you want to believe that the world is about to end?
Thomas: I believe that when Christ returns, it’s going to be beautiful.
Liz: Believe me, he doesn’t want to hear about New Life.
Liz: Because it’s caused him a lot of pain.
Liz: It killed his boyfriend.
Thomas: You’re saying the church…
Liz: Killed Charlie’s boyfriend, yes.
Liz: We don’t need you coming over here. Especially not now. Not this week.
Liz: Because he probably won’t be here next week.
Thomas: Where is he going?
Liz: You have congestive heart failure. If you don’t go to the hospital, you’ll be dead by the weekend. You will die.
Charlie: Well, then, I better get to work, because I have a lot of essays this week.
Charlie: I’m sorry.
Liz: You say you’re sorry one more time, I will shove a knife right into you. I swear to God!
Charlie: Go ahead. What’s it going to do? My internal organs are two feet in, at least.
Charlie: [reciting the essay about Ahab from Moby Dick] His entire life is set around trying to kill a certain whale. I think this is sad because the whale doesn’t have any emotions. He’s just a poor, big animal. And I feel bad for Ahab as well, because he thinks that his life will be better if he can just kill this whale. But in reality, it won’t help him at all. This book made me think about my own life.
Ellie: Does this mean now I’m going to get fat?
Charlie: No, it doesn’t. I was always big. I just, I let it get out of control.
Charlie: You don’t like school?
Ellie: Only idiots like high school.
Ellie: Are you actually trying to parent me right now?
Charlie: No. I’m Sorry. I just thought that maybe we could spend some time with each other.
Ellie: I’m not spending time with you. You’re disgusting.
Charlie: Well, I’m a lot bigger than I was since last time you saw me.
Ellie: No, I’m not talking about what you look like. You’d be disgusting even if you weren’t this fat.
'It doesn't help people to tell them that they should believe in God. Why would that help people?' - Ellie (The Whale) Click To Tweet
Charlie: I just thought that maybe we can get to know each other.
Ellie: I don’t even know why I’m here.
Charlie: I can pay you.
Ellie: You want to pay me to spend time with you?
Charlie: I don’t need a little machine to tell me to take a few deep breaths and stop sweating.
Liz: Well, apparently, you f***ing do.
Liz: [to Charlie, referring to Ellie] You haven’t seen her since she was eight years-old, and you’re going to reconnect with her by doing her homework for her?
Charlie: [referring to Ellie] I’m worried that she’s forgotten what an amazing person she is.
Liz: Goddamn it, Charlie. What is wrong with you? Chew your food like a normal human being! You could have just died right in front of me!
Charlie: I’m sorry. I’m sorry, Liz.
Ellie: [referring to Walt Whitman] You’re just like my teachers. You think just because I’m not losing my s**t over the poem, it’s because I didn’t read it. I did read it. It’s overwritten, and dumb, and repetitive. And even though he thinks his metaphor of “I” is deep, it’s actually just a bunch of bulls**t. And, in reality, he’s just some worthless 19th century f***ot.
Charlie: That’s an interesting perspective. It would make for an interesting essay.
Charlie: Ellie, I don’t need you here to write these essays for you. If you want to go, you can go. You can still have the money.
Ellie: I thought you wanted to get to know me.
Charlie: I do. But I don’t want to force you to be here. It’s up to you.
Charlie: [referring to Mary] She really only tells me things about you.
Charlie: Because that’s all I want to know about.
Ellie: Why did you gain all that weight?
Charlie: Someone close to me passed away, and it had an effect on me.
Ellie: Your boyfriend.
Charlie: My partner.
Ellie: [to Charlie, as he’s crying in the bathroom] Are you okay? Unless you’re dying, there’s no way I’m going in there.
'I need to know that I have done one thing right with my life.' - Charlie (The Whale) Click To Tweet
Ellie: I’m his daughter.
Ellie: Are you surprised?
Thomas: Yeah, I guess.
Ellie: What’s more surprising? That a gay guy has a daughter, or that someone actually found his p**is? I’m kidding.
Ellie: What I like about religion is that it assumes that everyone is an idiot and that they’re all incapable of saving themselves. I think they got something right with that.
Ellie: What I don’t like about religion is that when people accept Jesus, or whatever, they suddenly think that they’re better than everyone else. By accepting the fact that they’re stupid sinners, somehow they’ve become better, and they turn into a**holes.
Charlie: [referring to the Bible] I thought it was devastating. God creates us, expels us from paradise. We wander around for thousands of years killing each other, before He comes back and saves a hundred and forty-four thousand of us. Meanwhile, seven and a half billion of us fall into hell.
'I don't think I believe anyone can save anyone.' - Liz (The Whale) Click To Tweet
Thomas: God hasn’t turned His back on you. If you accept Him, He’ll release you from this. He’ll take your soul out of this body and give you a brand-new body. One made of pure light. I mean, don’t you want that?
Charlie: I’m not interested in being saved.
Charlie: [to Thomas] I am not attracted to you. Please, you got to believe me when I say I’m not attracted to you. You’re a fetus.
Charlie: Thomas, tell me the truth. Do you find me disgusting?
Thomas: No. I just want to help. Please, just let me help.
Liz: [to Thomas] Okay, listen. I know this is fun for you. You get to travel around, act superior than everyone else, and eventually, you go home, get some boring job, have too many kids. It’s God’s plan. But there are other types of people. People like Charlie, for whom this amazing plan doesn’t fit. So, just stay away from him. He doesn’t need this right now.
Thomas: Look, I know that you don’t trust me. And I know that I haven’t known him for very long, but I really think that God brought me here, right when Charlie needs it the most. I just want him to be saved, that’s all.
Liz: You listen to me! He doesn’t need saving! In a few days, he’s probably going to be dead. So what he needs is for you to leave him alone. I’m the only one who can help him. Do you understand me?
Charlie: [reading from Ellie’s notebook] “This apartment smells. This notebook is retarded. I hate everyone.”
Ellie: I kind of hate you.
Charlie: Yeah. Well, you hate everyone.
Charlie: You know, I was in a really strange place in my life when I married your mom.
Ellie: Did I f***ing ask?
Charlie: [to Ellie] You don’t have to be angry at the whole world. You can just be angry at me.
Ellie: [to Charlie] You can’t throw me away like a piece of garbage, and then suddenly just want to be my dad eight years later. You left me for your boyfriend. It’s that simple. And if you’ve been telling yourself anything different, then you’re lying to yourself. But you know what? I’m glad. I’m glad, because you taught me something very important. People are a**holes. Most people learn that way too late. You taught me that when I was eight. Thank you for that.
Ellie: You could have just f***ing called me. All this time, you could have been a part of my life.
Charlie: Ellie. Look at me. Who would want me to be a part of their life?
Charlie: You’re an amazing person, Ellie. I hope you know what an amazing person you are. I couldn’t ask for a more incredible daughter.
Thomas: [after Ellie puts Ambien in Charlie’s sandwich] Where did you get Ambien?
Ellie: I had sex with a pharmacist. I’m kidding. Gross. My mom pops them like Tic Tacs.
Thomas: [referring to pot] I was smoking every day. I had a problem.
Ellie: You were a stoner. You had a hobby.
Thomas: [referring to pot] Can I take another hit?
Ellie: It goes against your religion, and that makes you a hypocrite.
Ellie: [to Thomas] Do you find me attractive? Because I’m not attracted to you at all, just to let you know. I’m not trying to be mean or anything. I just don’t think you’re very good-looking. Or interesting. Or intelligent.
Thomas: [after confessing he stole money from his youth group] I thought I could use this money for my own mission. You know, see my faith save just one person. But now I’m almost out of money. And I just, I can’t go home. And my parents probably want to disown me. I don’t know what to do.
Ellie: You’re more interesting to me now.
Ellie: So, that’s why you want to save my dad.
Charlie: The money is for Ellie. It’s always been for Ellie. If there was ever any kind of emergency, I would have given you the money.
Liz: Would you?
Ellie: Listen to me. Listen. I don’t care about you! Get that through your f***ing skull.
Charlie: Ellie, please.
Ellie: Just f***ing die already!
Mary: That positivity. It’s so annoying.
Charlie: You’re a complete cynic. Just trying to balance us out.
Mary: Yeah. I guess I do miss that. That one thing.
Charlie: Just that?
Mary: That, and the cooking.
Mary: I never knew you were doing this to yourself.
Charlie: Well, you never asked how I was doing.
Mary: You never asked how I was doing either.
Charlie: I know I made a lot of mistakes. But I just wanted to see her, Mary. I’ve always just wanted to see her.
Mary: It’s all about you. Even now, huh?
Mary: [referring to Ellie] She’s a terror. And you think it’s my fault.
Charlie: Wait, is that why you kept her from me all this time? Because you thought that I would think that you’re a bad mother?
Mary: At first. But later, when she was fifteen, sixteen, I was worried she would hurt you.
Charlie: [referring to Ellie’s bullying social media comments] This isn’t evil. This is honesty. Do you know how much bulls**t I’ve read in my life?
Mary: I never got to say that I was sorry.
Charlie: What would you have to be sorry about?
Mary: That’s not what I mean. I mean, about your friend.
Charlie: [to Mary] That was the first time we’ve all been together in almost nine years. Do you realize that? When Ellie was little, when we took that trip to the Oregon Coast together, Ellie played in the sand, and we laid out on the beach. I went swimming in the ocean. That was the last time I ever went swimming, actually.
Charlie: I’m dying, Mary.
Mary: F*** you.
Charlie: I’m sorry.
Charlie: I need to make certain that she’s going to be okay. We can’t give up on her.
Mary: You already gave up on her! You gave up on her when she was eight years-old!
Charlie: I wish I could have been a part of her life, Mary, a part of both of your lives.
Charlie: [referring to Ellie] I need to know that she’s going to have a decent life. Where she cares about people, and other people care about her. And she’s going to be okay.
Charlie: She doesn’t have anyone else! I need to know that I have done one thing right with my life!
Mary: We both played our parts. I raised her, and you’re giving her the money. It’s the best we could do.
Charlie: [writing a message for his students] F*** these ridiculous essays. F*** these readings. Just write something f***ing honest.
Charlie: You think Alan died because he chose to be with me? You think God turned his back on him because he and I were in love?
Charlie: You know something? I wasn’t always this big.
Thomas: Yeah. I know.
Charlie: I mean, I wasn’t the best-looking guy in the room, but Alan loved me. He thought I was beautiful.
Thomas: Charlie, God is ready to help you.
Charlie: Oh, I hope that there isn’t a God. Because I hate to think that there’s an afterlife, and that Alan can see what I have done to myself.
Charlie: [to his students] Well, your complaints have been heard. I’ve been replaced by someone who will, no doubt, have you rewrite, and rewrite, and rewrite, be more objective, less authentic, less you, with every draft.
Charlie: [to his students] You all wrote these amazing, honest things, and you’ve been so honest with me that I just want to be honest with you too.
[he then switches on his webcam so that his students can see him]
Charlie: [to his students] These assignments don’t matter. This course doesn’t matter. College doesn’t matter. These amazing, honest things that you wrote, they matter.
Charlie: I’m not going to the hospital.
Liz: I’m not asking you to. I can’t do this anymore.
Charlie: I tried to save him, Liz. I thought that if I just loved him, that he wouldn’t need anyone else. I told him he didn’t need God, he didn’t need anyone but me.
Liz: Charlie, all I know is that you gave Alan the best years of his life. If it weren’t for you, he would have jumped off that bridge years earlier. Nobody could’ve saved him. Believe me, I spent years trying.
Charlie: [referring to Ellie and Thomas] He’s going home. She did that. She didn’t do it to hurt him. She did it to send him home.
Ellie: I failed.
Charlie: It’s a really good essay.
Ellie: Are you just trying to screw me over one last time? I don’t care about you! I don’t care that you’re dying. Do you want me to fail out of high school? Is that why you did this?
Charlie: I didn’t write it.
Charlie: I’m sorry for leaving you. I was in love, and I left you behind. You did not deserve that. I don’t know how I could have done such a thing. You’re so beautiful. You’re amazing.
Charlie: You’re amazing. This essay is amazing. This essay is you.
Charlie: [to Ellie] You’re the best thing I have ever done.
Charlie: [to Ellie] You’re perfect. You’ll be happy. You care about people.
Charlie: [referring to her essay] You’ll help if you read it.
Ellie: F*** you.
Ellie: F*** you!
Ellie: Daddy, please.
[she stops, turns, and reads her essay as Charlie starts walking towards her and then begins to float towards a white light]