“The Whale” Offers Life Lessons Large and Small

As one gets older it is only natural to become more reflective of year’s past and interactions with family and friends, loved ones and contemporaries, including in the context of tenets you have set for life and for work.  The importance of balance, understanding and mutual respect – toward others and toward oneself.

Such messages and themes are put forth with power and aplomb in the new movie, “The Whale,” subtly at first and then with the force of a ton of bricks. Brendan Fraser has been nominated for a Golden Globe for his brilliant portrayal of a gravely obese teacher suffering physically, emotionally and spiritually for his inability to cope with past events, settling instead on a pattern and path of self-destruction, albeit aimed at redemption for another. I won’t spoil the story beyond that.  Just be prepared to look inward spiritually and emotionally outward. Bring a Kleenex (or three). It’s that good.

There is also a concurrent theme line of note based on his role as an online English teacher and the hypocritical imploring of his students (and others) to be authentic and honest in their writing and interaction with others. And there’s an interweaving of organized religion and its stance on homosexuality. This movie is, at times, as dark as the dingy apartment in which Fraser’s character incessantly resides.  At the same time the film provides an outlook focused on rays of sunshine and light.

As we look ahead to the rest of 2023 and beyond, despite how you might feel about “resolutions,” I would argue there is no harm in fostering and practicing a culture of compassion, understanding and forgiveness toward others and, again, in our self-talk and actions. We all deserve the “benefit of the doubt.” Even when we may not think so.