As criticism mounts against the portrayal of obesity in the new movie The whalea man has defended him against his detractors.
In the film, Brendan Fraser plays the lonely English teacher named Charlie, who suffers from obesity. He begins the film on a downward spiral both physically and emotionally as he tries to reconnect with his estranged daughter.
A man, named Sean Crawford, defended the film, as he found parallels between the film’s plot and his own life.
The father-of-one told the BBC that he cried when he saw the trailer for the film.
Crawford, who is from East Lothian, Scotland, explained that he gained weight rapidly after the death of a close friend. He now weighs 30 stone (190 kg).
He says the film has given a voice to people in his situation, noting similarities between his life and Charlie’s in the film.
“[Charlie] he instructs a class behind a computer because he’s ashamed of his weight, I hid from things because I was ashamed of mine,” Crawford said.
“The main goal is to make sure our daughters grow up to be good human beings in case we’re not there to see them grow up,” she continued, adding: “I think people need to realize that great people are human beings.” .
Fraser, who has been nominated for an Oscar for his role in the film, wore heavy prosthetics and a “fat suit” for the role.
Some critics have criticized the casting of Fraser as a larger-bodied person when they could have cast an actor who already fit that description.
Others, however, have denounced the film as fat-phobic “trauma porn”.
Meanwhile, Crawford said the film raises awareness for people experiencing weight gain and mental health issues.
“Often adults look at me with disgust, children stare and make comments, but I understand that this is the innocence of youth.”
“I often hear people talk about anorexia and bulimia with a degree of sympathy, while obesity is frowned upon,” she said. “Both are diseases at the end of the day.”
Crawford quickly gained weight after losing a close friend and accepting voluntary layoff from his role as a maintenance supervisor after 12 years on the job. He said that he gained 12 stones (76 kg) in 18 months.
“I neglected my life and spent 99.9 percent of my time watching TV, eating and drinking fizzy juice,” he said, adding: “I don’t sleep much so I have 18-19 hours a day to do this.” .
When he was weighed at the hospital, Crawford found that he weighed 30 stone (190 kg).
“It broke my soul and I lost all my confidence,” he said.
Crawford said he is “desperate” to see The whale.
“I couldn’t tell you when was the last time I wanted to see a movie in the cinema, but this one ties in hugely with my situation,” he told the BBC, saying it “relates” to the story.
“I’m identify whit him [Charlie, Fraser’s character] and it also gives a voice to people in my position.”
“He is a teacher and he is helping society. He shows people that they benefit from his life, as normally overweight people hide away and don’t get the credit they deserve.”
The whale is now available in UK cinemas.