Darren Aronofsky, USA, 2022o
Since the death of his lover, for whom he once left his wife and daughter, English teacher Charlie has led a secluded life in the course of which he has put on more than 200 kilos. In order to finally leave the cocoon of grief and reconcile with his family, he seeks contact with his seventeen-year-old daughter Ellie again.
Cinema is a strange thing. One watches without any problems - if not to say: completely captivated - a film about an incredibly fat middle-aged man who is visited only by the sister of his deceased lover, by a young missionary and by his blind teenage daughter - and who, for the rest, seems wildly determined to eat himself to death. And one is not alone in this fascination. Brendan Fraser won the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his portrayal of this human whale in March 2023, and more than 100,000 users have given the film a rating of 8 to 10 on IMDb's famous scale of ten. The solution to this riddle is Darren Aronofsky. The New York Harvard graduate and creator of cinematic psychotrips like Requiem for a Dream and Black Swan once again manages with this chamber play to tie us to the chair for two hours without leaving even the one setting, the protagonist's cavernous apartment. How does he do it? Simple, really: with a story that always remains in motion, because the back story only slowly comes to light. We gradually learn how the gay husband became a family man, what he sacrificed for his later love, and whom he hurt in the process. Like the great playwrights, Aronofsky draws his antihero not simply as a dull colossus but as a vital figure full of contradictions; like them, he portions the revelations cleverly and drives them toward their dramatic climax free of false inhibitions. For some, this might go too far, especially at the sheer metaphysical end. I felt more like Franz Kafka, according to his diary entry on November 20, 1913: "Been to the movies. Cried."Andreas Furler