“The Whale” - A Review

D L Henderson
4 min readDec 5, 2023

December 5, 2023

Patty and I were looking forward to the day the movie, “The Whale,” came on a TV channel for free. We have only seen several of the dozens of movies starring Brendan Fraser, but we have been impressed by and thoroughly enjoyed his characters’ personas — whether the genre is comedy or tragedy or adventure. He is a very talented actor. In fact, we thought all the actors played their parts in this particular movie with excellence.

Here comes my “however…”

However, all the characters were stereotypes which misrepresent, among others, God, Jesus, the Bible, and Born Again Christians — all the misconstrued ideas of which I have been trying to correct within all my essays.

Are there many incidents of erring, hypocritical, and morally bankrupt “Christians,” their organizations, and their leadership? Yes. Certainly. Undeniably true. Yet, I challenge anyone to show me any group — social, political, educational, athletic, vocational, racial, or any other that is pure, perfect, and completely error free, whose adherents are, likewise, pure and perfect?

In this movie, as in all stereotyping, there is much judging, prejudice, narrow-mindedness, and underlying attempts to stir up emotional hate.

I don’t know if the producers intended to paint the characters as universal types, lower species of humanity, as in “all overweight people are…” or “all teenage women are…” or “all homosexuals are…” or “all Christians are…” but it seemed to us as overemphasizing the latter.

Yet, I do understand that “The Whale” is a play in movie form. It is not a thorough treatise, not intended to be analyzing everything and everyone, but it does represent, with emphasis, one stereotype of the state of American Christianity today. The stereotype is an extremely judgmental one, and it is based on the worst characteristics and short-comings of people who, correctly or incorrectly, claim to be representing Jesus, God, and the Bible.

There are too many cults, denominations, religious organizations, and pseudo- transcendent philosophical groups which could be accused of the same faults. Unfortunately, people have the tendency to judge others by one high standard and themselves, by another, much lower one.

For instance, Charlie’s friend, Liz, was an enabler, that is, even though she was supposedly sincerely trying to help Charlie, her mixed feelings compelled her to overfeed him incessantly, whenever she was ministering to his health. Quite the conflicted character.

Thomas was not who he initially presented himself to be, but was still used to portray a typical young Christian. Also, the church in the movie I would consider to be neither a sect nor a denomination, but in truth, a cult.

These both, of course, were stereotypes and not unique representations of individuals.

Both characters were well played. True. But reinforcing such overused notions is probably harmful to all who identify with any of many such people.

Here is an excerpt from the Bible, (and I suggest reading the entire chapter), which just might help readers understand my point: “But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them — bringing swift destruction on themselves. Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. In their greed, these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping.” — 2 Peter 2:1–3.

In conclusion, actually how the movie concludes itself, in animated computer enhanced form, is suggesting the errant philosophy that when anybody dies, they go to heaven automatically — as indicated by the English Professor, Charlie, being enveloped and disappearing, absorbed into a very bright light.

Here and now is when and where we get right with God, and here and now is when and where is our only chance to receive God’s grace to get on the strait and narrow road leading to heaven.

Jesus said, “A thief comes to steal and kill and destroy. But I came to give life — life in all its fullness.” — John 10:10, International Children’s Bible.

We had best start considering the source. Is it hearsay? What is the source’s motivation? Does he or she have a skewed perspective? For example, if you intentionally or unintentionally hurt me with your words or actions, can I trust you to be my friend? If you continue to do so, are you a reliable friend? Where did the person get their info, or how did they come to their conclusion?

Prejudice is hurtful to individuals and to social groups. These prejudices against God, Jesus, Twice Born Believers, and the Bible they are trying to follow, and persevering in such perverse ways can condemn us to a very uncomfortable end.

Jesus said, “People are judged by this fact: I am the Light from God that has come into the world. But men did not want light. They wanted darkness because they were doing evil things. Everyone who does evil hates the light. He will not come to the light because it will show all the evil things he has done. But he who follows the true way comes to the light. Then the light will show that the things he has done were done through God.”” — John 3:19–21, International Children’s Bible.

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D L Henderson

Born 1950; HS 1968; Born again 1972; Cornell ILR; Steward, Local President/Business Agent; Husband, father, grandfather; winner/loser/everything in between