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Brendan Fraser Discusses the Final Scene of “The Whale”

by John Paul
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Brendan Fraser explains how he resolved the ambiguity of The Whale’s last scene. Emotional and psychological, The Whale debuted on Netflix on December 9 and starred Fraser. Many people believe this to be Fraser’s long-awaited return to the Hollywood scene. Charlie (Fraser), the film’s protagonist, is an obese guy looking to repair his relationship with his estranged daughter Ellie (Sadie Sink). The critical response to the film has been excellent overall, with nearly overwhelming praise for Fraser’s performance. However, director Darren Aronofsky has been called out for his theatrical approach to adapting Samuel D. Hunter’s 2012 play of the same name.

Fraser and Hunter (the script writer) discussed the film’s enigmatic finish in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. Many viewers may find the scenario heartbreaking, while others struggle to grasp the theological allegory. As a result, Fraser and Hunter talk about how they took the ending, and both agree that it was a heroic finish in which Charlie achieved his goal of independence. Here are some of their comments:

Fraser said,

It’s important because it’s a Herculean effort that he makes to even get to his feet. For him to finally break through to her, humble himself before her, and let her know that he made a mistake and is sorry for it. While his life has not physically ended in that moment, I think that he knows he doesn’t need to live any longer, which is why he takes off his breather, he’s got her reading the essay, and he does take to his feet like three Olympic dead-lifters, takes his baby steps to his baby, and in that beautiful two-shot, a great white light appears, and they look skyward. Depending on your belief system, spiritually or otherwise, we see that Charlie — with a touch of magic realism — finally does fly.

Hunter stated,

He’s struggling this entire film to put a mirror up to his daughter to say, ‘This is who you are,’ and in those final moments, that mirror is this essay. When she looks at it, she can’t deny turning it in and getting a D, but then, here’s her father, all these years later, being like, ‘This is the best essay I’ve ever read.’ At long last, he’s the only person who sees her, and she knows it.


What Actually Happens In The Whale’s Final Moments

Some readers will appreciate Fraser and Hunter’s explanation of the conclusion, as the final scene in The Whale is not entirely clear on the page. Fraser explains that the audience must have seen a particular moment from the beginning of the film to completely comprehend the climax. Ellie and Charlie’s first significant interaction occurs in the Whale scene when Charlie promises to assist Ellie with her school essay. Ellie, still bitter about his abandonment, challenges him to a stroll. Unfortunately, he is unable to prove himself to her at that time in The Whale since he cannot stand or walk.

Ellie confronts Charlie in the closing scene of The Whale after learning that Charlie substituted an essay she wrote about Moby Dick for her own. As soon as Charlie saw her, he realized that the second essay was an authentic reflection of who she was as a person, so he flipped them over. Despite Ellie’s initial defensiveness, the two try to reconnect for the last time. So as to do this, Charlie has Ellie read the essay to him. While she does so, Charlie, despite his failing health, gets to his feet and walks over to her. He has the chance to show her how capable he really is. However, Charlie is unable to make it, and he passes away as Ellie reads the article. Ultimately, a bright light appears to shine down, which could be taken as Charlie’s ascent to heaven or as evidence that he has been redeemed symbolically.

When everything is said and done, the devastating conclusion to The Whale has multiple levels. Fraser and Hunter, however, note that salvation and freedom are implicit themes. Charlie accepts his death since he has shown his daughter that she is seen and understood, the one and only thing he ever wanted to do in his life. A parent’s love for their child is also depicted movingly. Charlie lets Ellie down in many ways, but his parental instinct and love for his daughter are on full display when he is able to recognize the worth and the piece of his daughter within an essay she wrote in eighth grade. Fraser and Hunter argue that the ending of The Whale is not ambiguous or tragic but uplifting for all the parents out there looking for atonement.



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