The Whale Trailer: Brendan Fraser Transforms Himself For The New Darren Aronofsky Movie

I think I speak for most of us when I say we're pretty hyped for the Brendan Fraser renaissance happening right now —a nd there's nothing more exciting than the idea of watching him give the performance of a lifetime. In the first trailer for A24's drama "The Whale," we finally get a glimpse of how utterly transcendent Fraser is said to be in the heart wrenching film.

In the minute-long sneak peek, we don't actually get too much footage from the film. It is mostly title cards with the cast's names, but we do get a few really important pieces of imagery, including a rising sun, a dark and empty bedroom, and a bird on a window sill. From there, we meet Fraser's character, Charlie, an obese man in poor health. He stares at the bird with hope, before we get more shots, this time of the rest of the cast.

"Do you ever get the feeling that people are incapable of caring?" Fraser's character asks in voiceover before we see him one last time, covered in sweat with a breathing tube underneath his nose. He is struggling, but he clearly never loses hope. "People are amazing," he says quietly, as the trailer flashes its title card and comes to a close.

Here's the The Whale trailer

According to A24, the film follows "the story of a reclusive English teacher who attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter." It stars Fraser alongside Sadie Sink as his daughter Ellie, Hong Chau as his best friend and nurse Liz, Ty Simpkins as a religious missionary named Thomas, and Samantha Morton as Charlie's ex-wife Mary. The film is directed by Darren Aronofsky and written by Samuel D. Hunter, who wrote the original stage play on which the film is based.

Naturally, that all sounds pretty impressive, and I'll admit, makes us inclined to like this film no matter what. But you might be surprised to know that the film is wading in controversial waters in many different ways (including controversy over fat suits, but that probably comes as no surprise). It goes all the way back to 2011 when the stage play was first published and gained popularity. People took issue with its portrayal of Charlie and claimed it was fatphobic, and were disappointed to find that Hunter was a straight sized individual. However, Hunter has since spoken out about having a history with obesity and that he was writing from that experience.

The complications of The Whale

Because of this lingering distaste for the play, a lot of folks are equally disappointed with the idea of bringing it to the screen because of its fatphobic aspects. As a fat critic, I might be in the minority, but after seeing the film at the Venice Film Festival this year, I was surprised by how well — and, even more shockingly, how compassionately — the film portrays the binge eating disorder experience, something I am sadly intimately familiar with. Fraser in particular is instrumental to how the film pulls this off, and his performance is the clear-cut standout of the movie without question. Whether or not the source material is fatphobic, I do think it's important that we acknowledge what the film gets right, too, because there is a major benefit in that kind of representation. It's groundbreaking. It's not really ever been done before in this way, and that is something to take note of.

"The Whale" will be released in theaters in the United States on December 9, 2022.