We have a brand new film hitting Prime Video this weekend in Don’t Make Me Go. The film stars John Cho and Mia Isaac. It drops globally on Prime Video on July 15.
Directed by Hannah Marks
Written by Vera Herbert
Starring John Cho, Mia Isaac, Mitchell Hope, Jemaine Clement, Stefania LaVie Owen, Kaya Scodelario
Plot: When single father Max (John Cho) discovers he has a terminal disease, he decides to try and cram all the years of love and support he will miss with his teenage daughter Wally (Mia Isaac) into the time he has left with her. With the promise of long-awaited driving lessons, he convinces Wally to accompany him on a road trip from California to New Orleans for his 20th college reunion, where he secretly hopes to reunite her with her mother who left them long ago. A wholly original and emotional journey, Don’t Make Me Go explores the unbreakable, eternal bond between a father and daughter from both sides of the generational divide with heart and humor along for the ride.
You’re not going to like the way the story ends, but I think you’re going to like the story.
The movie introduces us to our two leads, Max (John Cho) and Wally Park (Mia Isaac). Max is a single father who has about the relationship you would expect out of these two. They have a funny dynamic but don’t exactly see eye to eye on life, love, and the pursuit of happiness. A montage of events happens, from Wally’s boyfriend trying to take the next step to Max being put in an x-ray machine to Max grounding Wally for going to her boyfriend’s house.
Moments later, we find out that Max has a brain tumor, and he finds out there is a small chance he will survive the surgery. Max got home and was on the verge of telling his daughter but made a joke instead. He tells her he wants to go to his College reunion and will make her go with him. She is reluctant but says there are no other options.
The tone of the film is upbeat but we have so many variables in play that have to make this film work. First, we have a father/daughter duo that has to work. Next, we are dealing with a road trip with some time spent in a car. Last, they are dealing with a traumatic story that leads to death. That is a lot that has to work and connect the dots for this to be a good movie.
Let’s dig into the father/daughter relationship. A father/daughter bond can be very powerful on-screen, but when you throw in the variables of a single father and the delicate nature of this story, it only adds an extra layer to that bond. As a father with a daughter, they did an excellent job of writing the story of these two. It will never be perfect, it will have its ups and downs, and things will happen that must be repaired. Cho and Isaac share the perfect relationship on the screen as Max and Wally. The duo shares a moment together when they are dancing and it was one of the more beautiful moments I’ve seen in a film this year.
We all know Cho from his comedy roots with Harold and Kumar. However, since then, his incredible performance in Searching changed the narrative that this man can act dramatically, as well. He delivered the goods here with a multi-layered performance—his counterpart in Mia Isaac, holy cow, what a coming-out party. She will be a star, and I can’t wait to see what is next.
Next, the road trip part of the story isn’t always easy to convey. However, I thought the dynamic between Max and Wally and their banter made it enjoyable. It was sweet, charming, sad, and funny. They had so many different things happening that the ride felt smooth while being bumpy.
Last, the traumatic part of the story is one that was handled delicately. I think the writing was based on the idea that we were in Wally’s shoes, but we knew Max was dying. I am not sure they wrote this great, but how it all unfolded worked for me.
I will not spoil the ending of this movie, but in the opening of the film, Wally says the quote I put at the beginning of this review, “You’re not going to like the way the story ends,” and I am not sure how I felt about it. It completely blindsides you, and I’m at a loss for words. Nevertheless, the ending will be talked about for years to come.
Overall, I liked this because of John Cho and Mia Isaac’s performances and some technical things, from the score to the cinematography. I am just uncertain how much I liked it because of that ending. It is something that will take a lot of time to process.