Skip to content

Highly Suspect Reviews: The Whale

The Whale Movie Review


Darren Aronofsky is a director who is seemingly determined to either really upset, disgust, or confuse his audience. The thing is though, he’s really good at it. For any given film of his, your results may and will vary, it’s just short-sighted to dismiss any of them. But here he comes with something unexpected with The Whale, an adaptation of a 2012 play by Samuel D. Hunter (who wrote the screenplay). Abandoning many of his stylistic tricks, Aronofsky lets the actors do what they do and tell the story in a straightforward, one location manner. That location is the inside of a small apartment where Charlie (Brendan Fraser) lives. He is a morbidly obese man, who is so far gone as to be on the verge of death. His one friend who comes to see him is Liz (Hong Chau) a nurse who berates him for his poor choices and dangerous lifestyle, but clearly loves him dearly. Charlie also teaches an online english class, although he tells his students his webcam doesn’t work so they can only see him for his mind. Everything gets shook up when his long-estranged daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink) appears. Charlie has asked her to come see him as he knows he doesn’t have long to live and wants to reconnect but she’s determined not to let him in emotionally, even as she lets him pay her to visit. There’s also a young missionary named Thomas (Ty Simpkins) who keeps coming by even though everyone involved has specific reasons to really dislike his church. What you’ve got is a conversational, character-based film that lets you know from the get-go you’re in for a tragedy. But will this tragedy give Thomas some peace before he goes? Listen to Chris, Frank, and Wright discuss this Best Actor in a Motion Picture (for sure) film and explain why they’ll probably never be able to bring themselves to watch it again. NOTE: Apologies, as we misattributed actress Sadie Sink to the film Red Rocket. That was Suzanna Son.


DIRECTED BY: Darren Aronofsky

STARRING: Brendan Fraser, Sadie Sink, Jacey Sink, Hong Chau, Ty Simpkins, Samantha Morton, Sathya Sridharan




Photo on 2011-10-02 at 13.02Christopher Lawrence Cox (Founder, Da Boss)

Born in the wilds of northern Virginia, Chris managed to put all of his survival skills to use and barely escaped with his life to Austin Texas in 1992 where ever since he’s dabbled in everything from plumber’s assistant to sandwich maker, from band to bar management. An opportunity to see theatrical release films for free by becoming a critic on a local public access show called “The Reel Deal” turned into a full-time job when Chris and his friends decided to take it to the internet. They built the site, adding multiple podcasts and animated features, to no small amount of success. During this time, a fortuitous friendship sprung up between Chris and young Brian Salisbury, who was also a local film critic, and they merged their forces of will, and their laundry list of ideas for shows, to eventually build this community of critics. While Brian eventually followed his heart to a new family, Chris continues on with a cast of colorful folks from all over the country (and a few others). You can also check out Chris in his videocast, along with Martin Thomas and Danni Danger, that One Of Us does with our friends at Bell of Lost Souls: Crossover Event. He also regularly guests on the video game website Rage Select. Follow Chris on Twitter and Facebook and check out his Amazon Wish List.



Frank Calvillo (Highly Suspect Reviews, Screener Squad)

Born and raised in South Texas, Frank currently lives in Austin and has been in love with movies ever since his father showed him some Three Stooges shorts when he was five years old. Today he loves all kinds of film, regardless of era, country, budget or genre. He believes every film has an audience and is at least one person’s favorite movie. After writing for Sight & Sound and Slackerwood, he now writes for Cinapse where his increasingly random taste in all flavors of cinema (from Rashomon to Mars Attacks!) continues to thrive. His ultimate goal is to write a script for his boyhood crush, Michelle Pfeiffer.



” width=Wright Sulek (Screener Squad, Digital Noise, Highly Suspect Reviews, Trash in the Can, Audio Editor)

Wright hails from the northern suburbs of Dallas, Texas. His passion for filmmaking brought him to Austin to study and make movies. Since then he’s had his hand in acting, writing, and directing his own short films with numerous like-minded film geeks he’s met along his journey. His newest interest has brought him into the podcasting world. He co-hosted a few different movie related podcasts such as ‘And Now This’ and ‘The Match Cut’. He currently co-hosts with longtime friend, Eric Samaniego, where they talk shop about the grimiest, trashiest, lost gems of movies on their show, ‘Trash in the Can’. Wright also guests and hosts reviews on Screener Squad and Highly Suspect Reviews as well as co-hosts Digital Noise with Chris Cox.



You can subscribe to the Highly Suspect Reviews and Screener Squad series of podcasts on iTunes, Spotify, and more, or use our RSS feed on whatever podcast service you use: and please leave us a review!

Please think about becoming a paid subscriber to, support our huge network of shows, and get access to tons of bonus shows and videos in our forums! We cannot keep this site going without support from our listeners. For added information about being a subscriber, the benefits, and the forums, please go here.

Subscription Levels

Dollicious Ad 2022

Dead Friends Society Ad


Knomad ad

Outside In Trusts No One