Joel R.’s review published on Letterboxd:
One of the most beautiful, heartbreaking, cathartic experiences I've ever had watching a film! I've been dying to rewatch it for more than a month now but was so emotionally drained during my first viewing, I needed a buffer before putting myself through that again.
While I know they will never see this I want to thank Brendan Fraser, Hong Chau and Sadie Sink for their touching performances, Darren Aronofsky for his masterful direction and all of the writers and crew responsible for bringing this wonderful film to life!
I didn't say so in my first review because as everyone knows we men would rather cut our own fingers off with shears than talk about our feelings, but as someone who's father is gay, having left my mother, sister and I for a man when we were very young this film hits seriously close to home.
It's also why I can't dislike Sadie Sink's Ellie the way others do. I can't be mad at her without being mad at myself, I know how hurt and angry feeling unwanted and abandoned can make a person. Sink's wonderful performance felt very authentic to my own experiences.
As you can probably imagine The Whale dug up some pretty serious $hit for me that I've kept stamped down and buried for most of my life but in doing so helped me confront, deal with, understand, come to terms with and accept it.
So having said that I don't wish to disparage my dad here. He and my mom made sure he remained part of our lives even if it was in a reduced role, in fact much of my love of cinema can be attributed to him and the frequent trips to the theater he would take us on during the few hours per month he spent with us.
Gonna have to reevaluate my top 10 films of 2022 again after this!