Loved The Whale? Here Are 10 Movies You Will Also Like

Based on Samuel D. Hunter’s eponymous play, ‘The Whale’ tells Charlie’s story as he attempts to reach out to his estranged teenage daughter, Ellie (Sadie Sink). Charlie (Brendan Fraser) is an obese English teacher and prefers to live a life of solitude. The psychological drama movie revolves around the reconciliation between a father and his daughter.

Charlie’s hardships are at the heart of the plot as he is embarrassed and seeks redemption for his actions in the past. He gains weight after his partner’s death which signifies it as a way for him to cope with grief. If you want to watch similar movies that revolve around themes like reconciliation between a parent and their child and struggles with body image, then the following suggestions are perfect for you.

10. Heathers (1989)

Directed by Michael Lehmann, ‘Heathers’ is a drama movie that tells the story of Veronica and her inner demons. To fight a clique of popular “Heathers” in school, her life takes a murderous turn. Martha is another student at Veronica’s school who is overweight and tired of getting bullied because of it. The latter saves Martha from herself and avenges the inhumane treatment they both received from the popular girls and jocks.

There might not be apparent similarities between ‘The Whale’ and ‘Heathers,’ but Charlie and Martha share the underlying embarrassment of being obese. Furthermore, both feel better as they have someone who looks beyond their appearance and understands the person within.

9. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

Imagine the predicament of an elder brother who is burdened with taking care of his younger brother, who has a mental disability, and his mother, who is extremely obese. This is what Gilbert’s life revolves around. When he falls in love with Becky, he must decide what path to choose.

On the one hand, Gilbert’s family needs him; on the other, he has to follow his heart and be with the woman he loves. Adapted from Peter Hedges’s eponymous novel, the drama movie ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape‘ is directed by Lasse Hallström. It highlights the difficult choice anyone can face in their lives. The struggles of Gilbert’s mother resemble those of Charlie in ‘The Whale’ as both of them are overweight and embarrassed by their appearance. They feel bad for being dependent on someone else for basic activities.

8. Affliction (1997)

Wade Whitehouse is on a mission to solve a case. His past is corrupted, while his personal life is chaotic. The case is Wade’s lifeline as it can help get his life back on track. Amid his obsession with the case, he forgets about his family and everything else. Wade has no support from anyone in his life or his workplace. Moreover, he tries to get in touch with his daughter, Jill, despite being pressured by his personal conflicts.

Wade’s means can seem self-destructive, and eventually, he rises above them to get better. Directed by Paul Schrader, the drama movie ‘Affliction’ has more in common with ‘The Whale’ than just the genre. Both Charlie and Wade’s lives are on the cusp of breaking apart. This makes their quest for salvation more potent.

7. The Wrestler (2008)

‘The Wrestler’ is another movie directed by Darren Aronofsky. Randy is the director’s first shot at portraying a self-destructive character who has had enough. With his wrestling career almost over, Randy lives on the remaining shreds of his fame. Meanwhile, he attempts to reach out to his estranged daughter to make things right again.

Randy desperately tries to have something worthwhile in his life, something to live for. However, he ultimately has to come to terms with his destiny and make peace with the life he has lived. Both aspects of having a distanced daughter and a detrimental streak in the protagonist are common in Randy and Charlie.

6. Precious (2009)

Adapted from author Sapphire’s first novel titled ‘Push,’ the drama movie ‘Precious’ charts the traumatic journey of the titular character. Following abuse and rape by her own father, Precious gets pregnant, and her life spirals out of control. At the tender age of 16, she has to face the harsh consequences of someone else’s actions. Moreover, her mother is abusive and ignorant as well.

When Precious sees a chance to get out of her hellish life, she takes it and finds an amazing mentor. Directed by Lee Daniels, ‘Precious’ and ‘The Whale’ have a few commonalities. While being an overweight and obese protagonist, the duo shares how unkind life has been to them. Even though their struggles are different, life leaves them both desolate.

5. The Father (2020)

Helmed by Florian Zeller, ‘The Father’ is the story of a relentless man who strives to make it on his own even as he grows old. The French director has based the psychological drama movie on her play named ‘Le Père.’ Anthony rebuffs his daughter Anne’s efforts to offer help and assistance. Under dementia, he begins to lose all sense of reality as his brain gets muddled.

The movie beautifully charts the relationship between a stubborn father and a daughter willing to do anything for her dad. A similar father-daughter relationship blooms between Ellie and Charlie in the movie ‘The Whale.’ Both films have the father’s hardships at the core of the narrative.

4. Fat (2013)

Written and directed by Mark Phinney, ‘Fat’ explores the tribulations of weight and addiction in Ken’s life. Compulsive eating and worsening health have paved the way for Ken to an early death. The drama movie reflects the consequences of food addiction and stubbornness that leads to no change.

However, Ken finds an alteration in his perspective during a chance encounter with someone else. His overeating and failure to find love ultimately push him over the edge. Both movies ‘Fat’ and ‘The Whale’ revolve around overweight protagonists doing everything in their power to accept their reality or change it altogether. Besides, both Ken and Charlie are saddened at the lack of love in their lives.

3. My So-Called Father (2014)

‘My So-Called Father’ poses a fundamental question to the viewers- it urges them to think about the future when their parents forget who they are. This Swedish drama movie, directed by Ulf Malmros, explores a daughter’s tumultuous journey to help her dad regain his memory. They may be estranged, but their love for one another is heartwarming and beautiful.

Starring Vera Vitali and Michael Nyqvist in lead roles, the movie poignantly describes their fate. ‘The Whale’ also showcases the relationship between a father and a daughter during a life-changing situation. Furthermore, it features an estranged father and his daughter’s journey to reconciliation.

2. The Squid and the Whale (2005)

In the comedy-drama movie ‘The Squid and the Whale,’ the Berkman family deals with the repercussions of their family falling apart. The Noah Baumbach directorial explores the facets of kids’ lives that change due to their parents getting separated. Their disjointed life hides under the facade of perfection, but as you dig further, you unearth issues that run deeper.

The resulting trauma and emotions of the Berkman children are portrayed as well. Like Ellie’s parents are separated in ‘The Whale,’ the Berman couple also goes their separate ways. Additionally, Ellie faces most of the issues that the Berkman children experience because of their broken homes.

1. Ikiru (1952)

Director Akira Kurosawa tackles the concept of accepting death peacefully in this drama movie. The discovery of cancer leads a man named Kanji Watanabe to rethink his actions and seek a better path forward. The Japanese drama movie follows his efforts to pursue redemption before he dies. He reconciles with his son and daughter-in-law but is met with harsh anguish.

Ultimately, Kanji resolves to make others happy, and to do so, he builds a joyful playground for underprivileged kids. ‘The Death of Ivan Ilyich,’ a novella by Leo Tolstoy, is the movie’s foundation. Not just that, ‘Ikiru’ is a Japanese term that means “to live.” Charlie and Kanji face the same predicament as they realize death is near. The two protagonists deal with a similar inner conflict and seek redemption.

Read More: Where Was The Whale Filmed?