Bravo to the A24 marketing team.
The Whale — the Darren Aronofsky movie starring Brendan Fraser as a morbidly obese man — is fraught with marketing landmines, all rooted in the cultural sensitivity to fat shaming. How do you sell a movie like this while avoiding even a hint of exploitation, the kind that could easily trigger a Twitter backlash?
Well, the first one-minute teaser seems to have done just that.
Avoiding plot details to focus squarely on the soul of Charlie (the titular character) as well as those close to him, this first look doesn’t necessarily tell you what the story will involve but it does show you how the movie wants to make you feel, and the values it wants to communicate.
Aronofsky films are certainly no strangers to both accolades and controversy, with Black Swan, The Wrestler, Mother!, and Requiem for a Dream among them, and The Whale fits squarely into that CV as well.
Co-starring Sadie Sink (Stranger Things) as Charlie’s teenage daughter, The Whale has received largely rave reviews across the fall festival circuit, with the bulk of the accolades going to Fraser himself who looks to be in the center of the Best Actor Oscar race.
Rounding out the cast are Hong Chau (Downsizing, HBO’s Watchmen), Ty Simpkins (Jurassic World; the Insidious franchise), and Samantha Morton (Minority Report, In America).
With a screenplay by Samuel D. Hunter (based on his play) and shot in the 4:3 “Academy Ratio” square frame or early silent era movies, The Whale opens in theaters this December before it likely expands in early 2023.
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