‘Don’t Make Me Go’ had a plot twist that no one was prepared for


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By Nina Figurelli, Arts and Entertainment Editor

The memories we make with our families are ones that we can cherish for the rest of our lives. Far too often, we tend to take the time we have with our loved ones for granted until it’s too late. “Don’t Make Me Go” is a heartbreaking drama that follows a single father with his teenage daughter on a road trip to make new memories and search for the woman who deserted them many years ago.

The movie is prefaced with the narrator, Wally Park (Mia Isaac), saying, “You’re not going to like the way this story ends, but I think you’re going to like this story.”

Max Park, played by John Cho, is a single father who has just been diagnosed with terminal bone cancer near the brain. Without surgery, he has a year to live, but by doing the surgery he only has a 20% chance of survival. Max rejects the surgery and uses the little time he has left to attempt to rebuild the connection between his daughter, Wally, and his ex-wife, Nicole (Jen Van Eppes), who left them when Wally was just a baby.

While Max is reaching out to Nicole out of desperation, he fails to realize that Nicole isn’t Wally’s family. There is no way to rekindle their relationship because there was no true relationship to begin with. Due to her own selfishness, Nicole abandoned her daughter and never even attempted to reconnect with her.

The gut-wrenching story continues when Max finds out about his upcoming college reunion. Because his ex-wife left him for his best friend from college, Max suspects he will be able to find her there. He drags his unwilling daughter on a road trip to his college reunion and along the way hopes to teach her all of the lessons she will need for the rest of her life.

The reasons why Max is taking Wally on this road trip are just as important as the journey itself. He wants to create one last memorable adventure for Wally that she can carry with her even after Max passes away.

Throughout the movie, Max keeps Wally in the dark and does not reveal to her his tumor nor the real purpose of the road trip. Part of him is keeping this secret because he fears that Wally will convince him to do the surgery; however, he can’t bear the idea of dying on the operating table and leaving Wally with no family. 

We get to see an interesting father-daughter dynamic and character growth between Max and Wally. She is in her rebellious teen years, yet he is almost forcing her to grow up instead of enjoying the time he has left with his only daughter. 

The chemistry between Cho and Isaac was incredible. Their performance was compelling, powerful and emotional. I also enjoyed the fact that single-fatherhood wasn’t considered as a negative in “Don’t Make Me Go.” Wally doesn’t feel incomplete without her mother — she doesn’t even know her mother. She is content with and loves the person who stayed and loved her: Max. 

Not only were the actors phenomenal, but I also thought the plot and writing were brilliant. “Don’t Make Me Go” is an overall dark and emotional film; however, there are moments of light humor and heartwarming father-daughter memories that make all of the crying worth it.

Despite the poor reviews and ratings, I enjoyed the Heartland Film Award-winning drama. Some scenes may have been a little slow and redundant, but they still helped capture a more holistic picture of Max and Wally’s relationship and were still entertaining to watch.

“Don’t Make Me Go” is definitely worth watching. It is a bumpy story of fatherhood, loneliness and grieving that will take you on a rollercoaster of emotions. But nothing prepared me for the devastating plot twist. There are no spoilers here, but I am warning everyone of the tearful ending in which I am still recovering from myself.