The Whale

Based on the play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter and directed by Darren Aronfsky comes the theatrical adaption of The Whale. Starring Brendan Fraser as Charlie, the story follows a reclusive and morbidly obese English teacher who is coming to the end of his life. His last wish is to reconnect with his estranged daughter for one last chance of redemption.

As the last award nominated film that I was interested in, I couldn’t believe my luck when I had the chance to see it ahead of its initial release. It may seem simple; at times I was reminded of the fact that it was originally a play due to its solo location and small cast of characters, but I appreciated the fact that it was more intimate that way and of course, it helped with the difficult subject matter.

The story was pretty awful. I found it hard to watch at times, but I also couldn’t help but resonate with Charlie and his loneliness. Although that may have been self inflicted, it didn’t make it any less upsetting. I felt his embarrassment and I wish I could have mended his broken heart. At the end of the day, though, it seemed as if his mind was made up.

If Brendan Fraser does not win Oscar for this role, then I don’t know anymore. He put everything he could into Charlie and it moved me to tears. I just sat there at the end of the film in utter disbelief at what I had watched. There were also some brilliant performances by the supporting cast. Hong Chau as Charlie’s friend Liz, Ty Simpkins as missionary Thomas, Samantha Morton as Charlie’s ex Mary and Sadie Sink as Charlie’s daughter Ellie gave it their all.

Overall, The Whale is a film that everybody should watch. It will make you uncomfortable, it will make you cry and it will make you think. While it may not be super strong in its plot, it more than makes up for it in its performances.

Rating: ♥️♥️♥️♥️

The Menu

Welcome to Hawthorne.

The most exclusive restaurant around, only a select few are chosen to come and dine. On this particular occasion are couple Margot (Anya Taylor-Joy) and Tyler (Nicholas Hoult) as well as food critic Lilian (Janet McTeer) and her editor Ted (Paul Adelstein), wealthy couple Richard (Reed Birney) and Anne (Judith Light), movie star George (John Leguizamo) and his assistant Felicity (Aimee Carrero) and business partners Soren (Arturo Castro), Dave (Mark St. Cyr) and Bryce (Rob Yang). What starts off as an evening of excitement soon takes a dramatic turn. It will be a night none of them will ever forget.

Where do I even begin with The Menu?

My expectations for this were sky high. At this point in time, it’s safe to say that I will gobble up everything and anything that Anya Taylor-Joy touches. She always chooses roles that are not what you’d expect and I love that about her. In such a large ensemble, she held her own and was mesmerizing the whole time. But the real stand out was, unsurprisingly, Julian Slowik (Ralph Fiennes). His performance was unlike anything I had ever seen before. At some moments he was terrifying while others charming and I wasn’t sure if I was supposed to hate him or love him. All I knew was that I was completely enthralled with everything he said or did. Another stand out was Elsa (Hong Chau). I’d never seen her before, but she was such a great addition.

I liked how the movie started off as one thing and became something else entirely as it went on. The way in which it was broken down into various sections – the amuse bouche, first course, second course etc – was absolutely genius. Neither parts were too short nor too long and each was integral to the progression of the story. Naturally as it continued, it only grew more and more insane.

Although I’d gone into the cinema having just eaten dinner, my stomach grumbled as each meal was presented to the guests. Some items I had never seen or heard of before and they looked amazing. One of my hobbies is to visit new restaurants and try exotic foods, so this was right up my alley. Just don’t be comparing me to Tyler please.

With all this said, The Menu has become one of my favorites of the year. The comedy, insanity and mouth watering dishes was something I never knew I needed in my life. The way in which it perfectly encapsulated our society and the way we obsess over things was spot on. I will be thinking about and singing this movie’s praises for a very long time.

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥