Is Brendan Fraser's The Whale Really… Offensive?

Is Brendan Fraser's The Whale Really… Offensive?
Image credit: Legion-Media, A24

The celebratory return of Brendan Fraser to the big screen could turn into a major scandal.

Darren Aronofsky's The Whale has recently thundered all over the world, becoming critically and commercially acclaimed. And the video of Fraser receiving a standing ovation for his performance in the movie made everyone go full "aww" mode.

Darren Aronofsky and his new film have garnered so much attention, in part because it has helped resurrect the career of Fraser, who won the Best Male Actor SAG award for the role of Charlie.

In the film adaptation of the Broadway play, Brendan Fraser plays a 600-pounds gay English teacher who stays home to mourn the death of his beloved and worries that he will not have enough time to repair his relationship with daughter before he dies.

It wasn't long after the film's release that accusations of fatphobia began to surround it.

The filmmakers have been accused of promoting an unrealistic view of overweight people who suffer endlessly and can't stop eating. Moreover, the protagonist's make-up also raised discontent, as did the use of a fatsuit, which the actor was able to take off at the end of the shoot, whereas overweight people don't have this option.

Representatives of the LGBT community also spoke out, saying they couldn't understand why the heterosexual Brendan Fraser, who is also in good shape, was cast as an overweight gay man.

Is Brendan Fraser's The Whale Really… Offensive? - image 1

The creators and Fraser himself responded to the accusations, arguing that the main character can't be called a mockery of overweight people. The movie touchingly shows the mental metamorphosis of a hero who suffers from an eating disorder after a global tragedy in his life. As for the costume, the actor and the make-up artists insisted it was meticulously made to convey all the details of such a person's condition as accurately as possible.

"I think it's one of the more exacting ways you can create a character and body, and in this case the mandate that Charlie's costume would respect the laws of gravity and physics as opposed to the many ways that we've seen that character depicted in films before as really a one-note joke, and in a costume that's just unfair," Fraser said in his interview for People.

The awards season has just begun, and we have the opportunity to see if such a controversial atmosphere around the film will hurt it or not.