- BBC News World
The movie The Whale is one of the big contenders in this year’s film awards season. She has also been noted for relaunching the career of the lead actor in her, Brendan Fraser.
But in addition to the thanks for the ovations, its director, Darren Aronofskyand Fraser himself have been forced to defend it in the face of growing criticism point out that masks “fatphobia”.
The story features Charliea morbidly obese gay professor who, in addition to facing life-threatening health problems and the social stigma attached to his condition, seeks to re-establish his relationship with his daughter.
It is an adaptation of a story by Samuel D Hunterwho is also the screenwriter of The Whale (entitled “La ballena” in some Spanish-speaking countries).
In an interview with the BBC, Fraser and Aronofsky stressed that their work seeks open the mind of viewers about the problems that people sometimes face in these circumstances.
“If we could drop the bias against those living with obesity it would be a step in the right direction,” Fraser says.
“We often lose sight of the fact that they are human beings with thoughts and feelings and hearts and families. And it is a story that takes place behind closed doors,” he adds.
“Sbeing hurtful to each other with what we say cause health problems in real life. And it looks like, quite simply, we can do something to change that,” she says.
The film received a standing ovation when it was presented at the Venice Film Festival, where Aronofsky was awarded.
Fraser also won the Critics Choice Awards for best actor and both are in contention for Oscar nominations.
Is there “fatphobia” in the film?
However, along with the nominations and awards, there have also been criticisms of The Whale.
There are signs of that reinforces stereotypes of obese people and who falls into a supposed “fatphobia”.
The main criticism is that to characterize Charlie, a so-called fatsuit (“fat suit”), a suit-like undergarment worn to plump up the actor’s appearance into an overweight or obese character.
Aronofsky explained to Yahoo Entertainment that using this resource had intended to make the character obesity outside realisticand not that it seemed “a joke”.
“One of my first calls after choosing Brendan was to my makeup artist, Adrien Morot. I asked him: ‘Can we do something that is realistic?’ Because if it’s going to look like a joke, then we shouldn’t do it,” he explained, pointing out that, for him, the criticisms about fatphobia “do not make sense”.
Fraser had to gain some weight to play a 270 kg man. But the production’s makeup and body prosthetics come into play to impersonate Charlie.
Why not hire a actor with actual obesity?some critics wonder.
After all, part of the problem that TI Whale It is the rejection of overweight people in all areas, such as work.
The director says he doesn’t agree with it. In an interview with the magazine Varietynoted that casting an overweight actor “from a health perspective, is prohibitively expensive.”
“It’s an impossible role to fill with a real person dealing with these issues,” he said.
But this has generated more criticism from specialists on the subject of obesity who say that making a movie does not put the lives of overweight people at risk.
Fraser has also defended his work: “I quickly learned that it takes someone incredibly strong inside that body to be that person. That just felt fitting, poetic and practical all at once,” he told the magazine. Vanity Fair.
Another criticized aspect is the type of film resources used by the director.
For example, when Charlie eats, the sounds of your form of chew are very noticeable.
That, and the dramatic approaches to his slow movementsare pointed out as reinforcing stereotypes around overweight people.
For writer Roxane Gay, The Whale ends up showing itself as “an inhuman film about a very human being”, as he wrote in a review in the newspaper The New York Times.
Fraser, by contrast, emphasizes that his performance was done with respect: “This is a man’s story. Not representative of everyone who lives with a body like Charlie’s“, he defended himself.
In a similar vein, Aronofsky has sought to refocus the discussion on Charlie’s personal history and the issues he faces.
“This film shows that, like everyone else, we are all human and that we are all good, bad, flawed, hopeful, happy and sad, and that there are different colors within us,” he stressed to the newspaper. Los Angeles Times.
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Brendan Fraser in The Whale: “Let’s abandon prejudice against obese people” – BBC News Mundo
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