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The Whale | 2022 | R | – 6.4.7

content-ratingsWhy is “The Whale” rated R? The MPAA rating has been assigned for “language, some drug use and sexual content.” The Kids-In-Mind.com evaluation includes a man masturbating to gay porn, a couple of descriptions of a sexual relationship, a man leaving his wife and child for another man, a dangerously obese man and we understand that his heart is failing, many arguments between a teen girl and her parents, discussions and arguments about religion, faith and hope, and about 25 F-words and other strong language. Read our parents’ guide below for details on sexual content, violence & strong language.


When a reclusive writing instructor (Brendan Fraser), whose health is rapidly deteriorating since he weighs 600 pounds, reaches out to his estranged teen daughter (Sadie Sink), he struggles to find a way to connect with her before it is too late. Also with Ty Simpkins, Hong Chau and Samantha Morton. Directed by Darren Aronofsky. [Running Time: 1:57]

The Whale SEX/NUDITY 6

 – A man seated on a sofa masturbates while watching pornography on his computer screen (we see two shirtless men and their bare shoulders, backs and abdomens while they have sex, and we see brief thrusting and hear them moaning); we see rhythmic movement and hear him breathing heavily and moaning until climax (please see the Violence/Gore category for more details) and a young man enters his apartment and is alarmed by what he sees.
 A man describes a sexual encounter with his male partner and that they kissed and they would lie together nude and have sex. We see a photograph of two men embracing in a few scenes.
 A teen girl yells at her father for walking out on her when she was 8-years-old to “…have sex with one of his students.” A man tells a teen boy, “I am not attracted to you. You are a fetus.” A teen girl crudely asks a teen boy if he is surprised that a man is gay and especially that someone was able to find his genitals (because of his considerable weight). A teen girl asks a teen boy, “Do you find me attractive?” We hear that a man answered the door without clothes on (we do not see this).
 A man showers and we see his bare chest and abdomen. A man removes his shirt and we see his bare back abdomen and chest.

The Whale VIOLENCE/GORE 4

 – While masturbating (please see the Sex/Nudity category for more details), a man breathes heavily and moans in pain; he holds his chest and shoulder and appears to be having a heart attack.
 A man struggles to stand up and walk to his teen daughter across the room when she tells him not to use his walker; he loses his balance and falls onto a table knocking the lamp to the floor, he groans and moans in pain while holding his chest and the girl leaves. A man grunts and moans when trying to stand up from a sofa to use his walker; a woman holds the walker to help him lift himself. A man wheezes and coughs in several scenes from physical activity. A man uses his walker to go to his bedroom where he lies back on his bed and uses a handle attached to the ceiling to try to right his position on the bed, and then uses a hook on the end of a stick to turn off the light above him.
 A woman takes a man’s blood pressure and checks his pulse and we hear a machine beeping. A teen girl gives her father Ambien to put him to sleep and later threatens to give him many more pills. A man drops a key on the floor and is unable to retrieve it by using a grabber; he later asks a young man to help him and he unlocks the door of an unused room. A man is unable to get his wheelchair through the door of a room and he leans forward to sniff the air in the room. A teen girl drags a kitchen knife on the side of a kitchen counter, cutting it deeply.
 A teen girl threatens a teen boy that if he doesn’t smoke marijuana with her, she will call the police and tell them that he tried to rape her (please see the Substance Use category for more details). A young man looks at a man with disdain.
 A man appears to levitate off the floor surrounded by a bright light. A man makes his image available on a video chat during a remote instruction session and several students seem alarmed by what they see.
 A woman talks about a young man being found washed up on the shore and that he had committed suicide after his father disowned him. A man talks about his partner and we understand that he died by suicide. A woman yells at a teen boy and tells him to leave. A woman yells at her teen daughter and tells her to leave. A woman yells at a teen boy for bothering a man with religious discussions. A teen girl is rude and dismissive to her father in several scenes and argues with him repeatedly. A teen girl is rude and dismissive to a teen boy and mocks him for his religious beliefs. A teen girl yells at her father for walking out on her when she was 8-years-old. A man offers his teen daughter $120,000 to spend time with him. A teen boy talks about his father being embarrassed by him and that he stole money from a church’s petty cash and ran away. A woman yells at a man and says, “I don’t understand you.” A teen girl yells at her father about an essay he wrote and she submitted as her own; she tells him that she will not be graduating from high school. A man reads about the implications of his blood pressure results and we see that an article states to “Call 911.” A woman tells a man, “You will be dead by the weekend.” A woman tells a young man that his religion killed a man’s boyfriend. A woman yells at a man and says that she will put a knife in him; the man replies asking to what end since his vital organs are “2 feet in.” A woman reprimands a man for not having health insurance and not going to the hospital when he has developed heart issues; she tells him, “Being in debt is better than being dead.” A teen girl sees that her father has gained weight since the last time she saw him and asks, “Does this mean I’m gonna get fat?” A man says that he is concerned that his teen daughter does not have any friends. A man asks a teen boy, “Do you find me disgusting?” A teen girl says, “This apartment smells.” A teen girl says, “I hate everyone.” A teen girl yells at her father and says, “I don’t care about you. Just die already.” A woman says that she almost set the whole apartment on fire when she tried to cook. A woman tells a man that she was afraid their daughter would hurt him. A man remembers cutting his legs on rocks in the ocean and that his wife was upset when he stained their car’s upholstery. A man throws a laptop across a room breaking it on the floor. A woman describes having identified a man’s body after drowning and that the body was bloated; another man says that he was not allowed to see the dead man (his partner) because he was not family. A man describes the condition of his body with sores on his flesh and mold growing under flaps of skin.
 A woman gives a man large amounts of food in several scenes (a bucket of fried chicken, two meatball sub sandwiches), and he has pizza delivered to his door (2-3 pies at a time) several times; we see the man eating the food, sometimes choking and coughing on it and a few times shoving large amounts of the food in his mouth causing him to gag and vomit into a garbage can in one of those scenes (we see goo as it splatters into the can). A man chokes while eating and a woman tells him to rock over onto the arm of a sofa where he is seated and she throws herself against his back to dislodge the food (he spits out a chunk of food, which falls off-screen); the woman reprimands the man for not chewing his food properly.
 We see a photograph of a partially decayed dead dog on a social media post.

The Whale LANGUAGE 7

 – About 25 F-words, 2 sexual references, 8 scatological terms, 6 anatomical terms, 4 mild obscenities, 2 derogatory terms for gay people, name-calling (awful, vaguely threatening, you’re disgusting, idiots, fat, pervert, stupidest, stoner, black sheep, lost cause, fat guy, stupid sinners, rude, evil, poor big animal, rebellious, difficult, terror, annoying, cynic, not very good-looking, sad, not intelligent, hypocrite, insane, worthless, overwritten, normal person, angry piece of garbage, retarded, dumb drunk college kids, gross), exclamations (gosh, oh please, calm down, shut-up, hush, be quiet), 2 religious profanities (GD), 17 religious exclamations (e.g. I swear to God, oh God, Jesus, oh my God, Christ, Jesus Christ, God’s plan, a missionary discusses End Times). | profanity glossary |

The Whale SUBSTANCE USE

 – A teen girl says that she gave her father Ambien and we see him sleeping in a wheelchair, a teen girl smokes marijuana in a couple of scenes, a teen boy and a teen girl smoke marijuana, and a teen boy says that he had a problem with being addicted to marijuana. A teen girl says that her mother is happy when she’s drinking, and a woman finds a bottle of liquor in a cabinet and drinks several glasses. A person on a remote screen during a class is seen smoking (it looks like vaping), a woman smokes cigarettes in several scenes, and a woman is told to put out her cigarette when a man is using oxygen.

The Whale DISCUSSION TOPICS

 – Remote learning, obesity, giving up, death of loved ones, abandonment, faith, honesty, mistakes, betrayal, arranged marriages, superiority, hope, congestive heart failure, alcoholism, Herman Melville, “Moby Dick,” Donald Trump, Ted Cruz, the 2016 Republican presidential primary.

The Whale MESSAGE

 – Everyone deserves love.

CAVEATS

Be aware that while we do our best to avoid spoilers it is impossible to disguise all details and some may reveal crucial plot elements.

We've gone through several editorial changes since we started covering films in 1992 and older reviews are not as complete & accurate as recent ones; we plan to revisit and correct older reviews as resources and time permits.

Our ratings and reviews are based on the theatrically-released versions of films; on video there are often Unrated, Special, Director's Cut or Extended versions, (usually accurately labelled but sometimes mislabeled) released that contain additional content, which we did not review.


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