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DON’T MAKE ME GO (2022, USA)

This emotional mix of family drama, coming of age and road movie showed that something can work even if you ride on clichés and make fun of something that we have already seen many times. The main prerequisite for such stories to work is that we have good and well-rounded characters whose motivations the viewer can understand and at least partially identify with, and good actors who can convey all of that. Of course, even a solid script is not to be thrown away, and a director who knows how to present a story that has been seen a hundred times in a way that seems fresh and offers some surprises is also useful. Admittedly, the final surprise turned out to be quite a shock in “Don’t Make Me Go” by the young American filmmaker Hanna Marks, who also showed in her previous two films “After Everything” and “Mark, Mary and Some Other People” that she is a solid performer in similar films. topics.

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The center of attention here is single father Max Park (John Cho), who learns right at the beginning of the film that he has been diagnosed with a brain tumor that will kill him within a year at the most. However, there is an operation that offers him a 20 percent chance of survival, and knowing that he doesn’t have much time left, Max will try to prepare his 16-year-old daughter Wally (Mia Isaac) for life. As the twentieth anniversary of graduation and the reunion of college colleagues approaches, Max will also head to New Orleans, and he will take Wally along for the ride. He will not reveal the main reason for the trip to her and will hide from her that he is seriously ill, and he plans to find his ex-wife and Wally’s mom, who left them when the girl was one year old. To make the situation worse, the mother ran away with Max’s best friend and never saw her daughter again, and since she has no living relatives, Max plans to leave her daughter with her mother.

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And of course, none of it will go just as he envisioned, and even though at first “Don’t Make Me Go” probably sounds like one of those sugary and predictable heart-wrenching melodramas, it was much better than I could have imagined. The main reason for this is the main characters, and therefore it is very easy to go on a journey with them. A fine chemistry was achieved between father and daughter, and both Cho and the young actress Mia Isaac, for whom this was her first role, seem so natural and believable. The second reason is that the story is much more complex and deeper than what it seems at first and that after some time we will understand that nothing is really black and white. And although it may seem that from the beginning it is clear how this story about the bonding of father and daughter could end, there is a twist at the end that, I suspect, many will not like.

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