Whale Music (film)

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Whale Music
Whale Music.jpg
Directed by Richard J. Lewis
Produced by Steven DeNure
Raymond Massey
Written by Paul Quarrington
Richard J. Lewis
Starring Maury Chaykin
Cyndy Preston
Paul Gross
Release date
  • 1994 (1994)
Running time
107 min.
Country Canada
Language English

Whale Music is a 1994 Canadian comedy-drama film directed by Richard J. Lewis. It is based on the comic novel of the same name by Paul Quarrington (who also wrote the screenplay).


The film stars Maury Chaykin as Desmond Howl, a former rock star who has lived in seclusion in a seaside mansion since the death of his brother Danny (Paul Gross) in a car accident. Howl spends his time composing a symphonic masterpiece for the whales who congregate in the ocean near his property. His reason for this is revealed in the title of one of his songs, "Have You Seen My Brother?" — Danny died by losing control of his car and driving off a cliff into the ocean.

One day, however, Howl awakens to find Claire (Cyndy Preston), a mysterious young woman, in his living room. Although Howl's world is disrupted, Claire ends up inspiring him to complete the symphony, to write his first great pop song in years, and to begin seeking connections with people again.

The character of Desmond Howl is based largely on Brian Wilson.

The cast also includes Kenneth Welsh, Jennifer Dale, Jim Byrnes, and Quarrington in a cameo appearance as a bartender.


Music for the film was written by Rheostatics and released on the soundtrack album Music from the Motion Picture Whale Music. The song "Claire" was a Top 40 hit for the band in 1995. Quarrington had chosen the Rheostatics to compose the soundtrack because he had liked their 1992 album Whale Music, which was itself inspired by Quarrington's novel.


Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result Ref(s)
Genie Awards 1994 Best Motion Picture Whale Music Nominated
Best Achievement in Direction Lewis, Richard J.Richard J. Lewis Nominated
Best Actor in a Leading Role Chaykin, MauryMaury Chaykin Won
Best Adapted Screenplay Quarrington, PaulPaul Quarrington and Richard J. Lewis Nominated
Best Overall Sound Powell, DarylDaryl Powell, Dean Giammarco, Bill Sheppard and Paul A. Sharpe Won
Best Sound Editing Shumiatcher, CalCal Shumiatcher, Eric Hill, Marti Richa, Issac Strozberg and Shane Shemko Won
Best Original Score Blondheim, GeorgeGeorge Blondheim Nominated
Best Original Song Rheostatics, "Claire" Won
Best Original Song Rheostatics, "Song of Courtship" Nominated

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