Prime Video has just added one of 2023's most controversial movies 4 months ago

Prime Video has just added one of 2023's most controversial movies

It was arguably the most-talked-about Oscar winner at this year's awards.

Released in cinemas in Ireland and the UK in February of this year, The Whale quickly became one of the most controversial movies of recent times, especially in light of its eventual double Oscar win.


Written and directed by Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan, The Wrestler), it tells the story of a reclusive, morbidly obese English teacher (Brendan Fraser) as he attempts to reconnect with his estranged teenage daughter (Stranger Things star Sadie Sink).

The movie won the Academy Award for Best Hair & Make-Up Styling earlier this year, but Fraser would also go on to win the Best Actor Oscar this year, beating out the likes of Colin Farrell, Paul Mescal and Austin Butler.

While the performance and the role marked a tremendous comeback for Fraser, who was essentially blacklisted from Hollywood for a time, there was a huge pushback on the project itself, which was marked by some for being too theatrical, as well as potentially fatphobic.


When the movie debuted at film festivals prior to its full cinematic release, Fraser received standing ovations for his role - and we must also give a special shout-out to Hong Chau for her tremendous supporting performance - The Whale itself received a middling 64% on Rotten Tomatoes.

On the one hand, there were some extremely positive reviews for the movie, such as:

Chicago Sun-Times - "Fraser becomes Charlie and infuses him with intelligence, pathos, humor and heart. It is one of the best performances of the year in one of the best movies of the year."

The Hollywood Reporter - "The intense chamber drama never disguises its stage roots but transcends them with the grace and compassion of the writing and the layers of pain and despair, love and dogged hope peeled back in the central performance. Fraser makes us see beyond the alarming appearance to the deeply affecting heart of this broken man."


But on the other hand, some critics were landed on the other end of the love-it-or-hate-it scale:

The Wall Street Journal - "Fraser looks so spectacularly awful as Charlie in the film, directed by Darren Aronofsky, that this chamber piece amounts to a variation of torture porn for highbrows, with a fat suit rather than a meat cleaver as the bringer of cinematic shock."

The Washington Post - "Darren Aronofsky’s adaptation of Samuel D. Hunter’s play is a murky-looking, claustrophobic exercise in emotionalism at its most trite and ostentatiously maudlin."

If you haven't seen it yet, you can now decide for yourself, as The Whale is available to watch on Amazon Prime Video.


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