Don’t Make Me Go review: A heartfelt road-trip movie held together by a brilliant John Cho

A road trip movie about a father and his daughter attempting to grow up together stars John Cho and keeps everything together.

When her father announces he has a tumor that could kill him within a year, Wally, played by Mia Isaac, confesses to her father, “I did not know we did not have enough time.” The movie Don’t Make Me Go on Amazon Prime Video is about how fleeting life is, but it’s also really about seizing chances as they present themselves. Here, the chance is obviously the focus of entropy, decay, and the inevitable passage of time. This adorable little road trip movie also emphasizes the idea that chances only become opportunities if they are taken. If not, the journey is only there to allow for drifting. The movie claims that if you don’t hold onto a belief, no matter how unsure, there is no destination you will reach. Don’t Make Me Go is a touching, cozy little movie about a father and a daughter that, although based on well-worn clichés, adds something fresh to an old tale.

John Cho plays Mark in the movie, a single father who is parenting Wally, a normal rebellious adolescent. Since his days as one-half of Harold and Kumar, Cho has developed, and his recent father figure parts, notably the excellent Searching, have confirmed a prodigious talent just waiting to be discovered by some of the best directors working today. According to his daughter, Mark works a 9 to 5 job and “found a job where he could wear loafers.” It’s a sardonic, yet encouraging, view into Mark’s reality that has left no room for the prickly feelings of enthusiasm, only the monotony of relief. After his wife abandoned him and his daughter, Mark’s only real obsession is with her. Mark decides to take a road trip to visit his former classmates, including his estranged ex-wife, after learning that he has a deadly tumor.

Do Not Make Me Leave passes through well-worn paths while making fun of all the clichés and symbols associated with road trips. The way Mark’s excessive possessiveness gets in the way of Wally’s feeling of exploration, though, illustrates some pleasant cultural friction at work here. Mark is noticeably upset with Wally’s actions in one scene when she elopes with a friend she meets in New Mexico, but he decides not to confront her about it in person. not directly in the view of anyone nearby. He chooses peculiar, unusual ways to demonstrate his respect for her. The daughter’s desire to learn how to drive while on vacation is a powerful allegory for allowing the child to finally take charge of her own life. not in plain view of others in his immediate vicinity. He chooses strange, unimpressive ways to show her that kind of respect. The daughter’s desire to pick up driving while traveling is a striking metaphor for allowing the child to finally take charge of her own journey. It turns out that Wally’s vacation isn’t just a trip for Mark; it also serves as Mark’s coming to terms with many things.

Don’t Make Me Go succeeds in maintaining the poignancy of the father’s dilemma, which is a positive. The movie is told from the father’s perspective, despite Wally’s opening line, “You’re not going to like how this narrative ends, but you will like this story.” Cho’s masterful acting wonderfully conveys the tortured inner world of the father who is reluctant to expose his daughter to everything at once while also preparing her for a life that may be without him. He rarely shows emotion beyond the automatic response, which suggests that he is profoundly at odds with his instincts. He wants to say everything, yet doing so puts him at risk of being the subject of sympathetic scrutiny. After all, he had the makings of a future rock star; he sang, played in a band, and, as would later be shown, also had a darker side. All guys are nuanced. The trivialities of life merely make them pale and heavy. Then, when confronted with an occurrence of epic proportions, they clearly appear troubled, frightened, and unsure of how to handle the unpredictable.

In Don’t Make Me Go, Mark’s development is just as important as Wally’s maturity. The adolescent does her part as the mature beyond her year girl who is held accountable by her father. Her suppressed youth has a certain allure, especially in the way it bursts through in chirpy, biting criticism of her dad’s numerous decisions as well as the ones she was made to make. Even though the plot may start to mirror other road trip movies from the past, the two performers Isaac and Cho give this one its own unique stamp. They work well together. I’m still undecided about the finale, which is presented as a sort of bittersweet shock. You won’t anticipate it, but it sort of illustrates the greater notion of making the most of your opportunities. Living life while it gives you options is important because you never know when someone will pull your feet beneath the rug and they might end up being you.

What do you think?


Written by tara

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