Review: Brendan Fraser gives heart-wrenching performance in The Whale

The Oscar for best actor is a two-horse race this year. Colin Farrell for Banshees of Inisherin and Brendan Fraser in The Whale.

Kiwi audiences can now make their own pick as The Whale has just opened here.

Hollywood loves a comeback story but Brendan Fraser's heart-wrenching performance in The Whale is so much more than that, rightly staking his claim as an Oscars favourite.

As Charlie, an articulate, literate, enlightened morbidly obese recluse, Fraser imbues the kind of humanity into his sorrow here which is such a gift to the audience.

The layers of his story are peeled back much of it courtesy of yet another deserving and Oscar-nominated outing from Hong Chau as his best friend Liz.

Filmmaker Darren Aronofsky adapted this from the critically claimed play - it's not his best cinematic work, not theatrical enough to pull you into the screen, yet somehow too theatrical to pull it from the stage. However the performances he did pull from his cast? Phenomenal.

While the film itself isn't necessarily a sum of all its incredible acting parts, The Whale is an emotionally affirming story which - once again it seems - feels like just what we need right now. 

Four stars.