Brendan Fraser delivers a deeply emotional and moving performance that doesn’t hold back from the brutality of a man suffering.
From the very start of Darren Aronofsky’s ‘The Whale’ we are exposed to a vivid and graphic view of ‘Charlie’ who is a morbidly obese English teacher on the verge of losing his life. Fraser carries a certain charm he has always been known for while also going to new territory for his wide ranging convincing acting ability – very early on we see him wink as he would in an action adventure yarn from the late 90’s but then much later in the film we see him desperate to know that his life has been worthwhile. This existential sense is just one of the many elements and themes of a layered story that touches on loss, love, health, money, religion, purpose and even classic literature.
With a small but brilliant cast, the players all pull together and orbit the main character in their own ways to bring a story that will stay with me for some time. This film could easily become an on-stage adaptation and of course it is more than obvious to see why the award nominations came pouring in. For Brendan Fraser, hopefully this is a redemption story although even without the awards it is a decorated return. At times ‘The Whale’ wasn’t easy viewing which is credit to those in this gripping performance.
‘I need to know that I have done one right thing with my life!‘
Candid, brave and ultimately inspirational…
While many of the subjects in this memoir aren’t easy to talk about, Danielle Larsen delivers her story flawlessly and highlights the moments and events of a journey that makes for a gripping read. In this day and age the subject of mental health needs to be talked about more and this book does that. Being wrongly diagnosed at a young age ultimately paves the way for Larsen’s struggles while the main bulk of the story focuses on her being in a relationship with an abusive controlling partner. For much of the time it’s frustrating to see the abuse that unfolds – why can’t she just leave? Unfortunately it’s a little more complex than that and part of the journey is understanding that it’s hard to leave sometimes and breaking those shackles is difficult when the circumstances of gaslighting and emotional abuse are present.
“Normal does not have to mean good or comfortable, but simply what one gets used to…”
This book acts as guide in some senses to spread awareness while also informing others. The narration style feels natural and relays every moment with dignity and there are some moments when you cannot help but feel for a person who has been through so much – a lot of it wasn’t even her fault and you just want her to succeed in the end. There are even some brighter moments later on which highlight finding inspiration from musical theatre and how we all need to find something for emotional release. For Danielle Larson to share a memoir like this it’s incredibly brave and ultimately inspirational because the message is no matter how many chips are down you can always come back, there’s always hope and survival is probably the greatest gift we have.
5 Stars – A gripping and touching well-written read that bravely shares so much. Reviews left via Amazon and Goodreads.
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