Don’t Make Me Go Plot Synopsis
Don’t Make Me Go, an emotional family drama that is currently streaming on Amazon Prime, tells the story of single father Max (John Cho) and his 16-year-old daughter Wally (Mia Isaac) as they embark on a road trip to New Orleans together.
The reason behind their road trip is a sad one. Max learns that he has a brain tumour and that he might only have a few months left to live. Rather than risk an operation that could potentially end his life sooner, he decides to take Wally to see her mother Nicole, even though the woman abandoned her daughter many years earlier.
Max hopes Wally’s mother will be there for her after he has gone but as he hasn’t spoken to Nicole for a long time, he doesn’t know how accepting she will be.
With time running out for Max, the two hit the road. But does he make it to the end of the movie? Or does Wally lose her father before they reach their final destination?
What are Max’s chances of survival?
Max has a rare case of terminal cancer known as Chordoma.
He is offered life-threatening surgery but as there is an 80% chance that he could die on the operating table, he decides the best course of action is to take plan B and live out his remaining life expectancy (about a year) without it. This will give him enough time to take Wally on a road trip, where he can teach her a few life lessons and introduce her to her mother.
Does Wally know the reason for the road trip?
No! Max tells her the reason for the road trip is his college reunion but while this is partly true, he doesn’t let her know about his brain tumour and he doesn’t tell her about the plans he wants to make with her mother.
As such, Wally goes along for the ride, oblivious to her future and the limited future of her father.
Do Max and Wally bond on the trip?
During their road trip, Max takes the opportunity to prepare his daughter for life after he has gone.
He teaches her to drive, shows her how to dance, and talks to her about relationships. It’s at these moments that they bond although things do get a little tense between them after she sneaks out of a motel room to attend a party. There is further tension later on in the movie when Wally learns of the real reason for the road trip.
Does Wally want to meet her mother?
After learning about Max’s intention to take her to her mother, Wally is apprehensive about meeting her mom.
She questions Max about the reasons behind their break-up and is shocked to discover the truth about their split. She had always assumed Nicole’s extra-marital affair was the reason behind their marriage ending but learns that Max also had affairs prior to this.
After these revelations, Wally is keen to meet her mother but is worried that she won’t be accepted. When they arrive at Nicole’s home, Wally sits in the car while Max walks up to the front door to meet with her mom.
Sadly, despite Max’s best attempts to convince Nicole otherwise, the woman tells him she is not in the right place to have her daughter back in her life.
When Max gets back in the car, he lies to Wally and tells her Nicole is having her floor redone and isn’t able to accept visitors. Wally isn’t stupid and she realizes her mother doesn’t want to see her.
Wally becomes angry with Max and storms off, only to end up at a nudist beach. If the sight of naked bodies wasn’t shocking enough for Wally, she later learns the surprising news about her father’s terminal illness when he finally reveals the truth to her.
How does Wally take her father’s news?
Not good, as you might imagine. She is both angry and sad and after getting into the driver’s seat of her father’s car, she puts both of their lives at risk as she drives erratically on the freeway due to her emotional state.
After she has gotten over the fact that her father tried to hand her over to a woman she has never met, Wally calms down. She tells her father that she wants him for “her whole life” and encourages him to have the operation. She tells him a 20% chance of survival is better than none, especially if it means she might still be able to enjoy a long life with her father.
Max agrees to have the operation but before they head home they visit a karaoke bar where Wally mischievously signs him up to sing. Thankfully, Max used to be in a band so he doesn’t embarrass himself on stage.
Sadly, things then take a tragic turn.
Does Wally lose her father?
Surprisingly, no! At the karaoke bar, Wally collapses and soon after, she passes away. As such, Max loses his daughter, a twist in the tale that nobody was expecting.
Her death was caused by an enlarged heart and while her passing comes as a shock, there were some subtle signs throughout the movie that indicated her ill health. These included feelings of dizziness and moments of sweating, even when she wasn’t involved in strenuous activity.
While her death is a sad turn of events, Wally reminds us in a voiceover narration that she got to spend some quality time with her father before she died.
She also tells us that she encouraged Max to take a chance on life. After her death, he had the operation and survived. This is one way in which she helped her father live but she also helped him live out his dreams. As the movie comes to a close, we spot a guitar, and this is a sign that Max has started to resume his musical career which he previously put off because of the need to raise Wally.
Therefore, the ending is quite optimistic, despite the sadness that came before. Max has the opportunity to live his life again, something that he may not have had the chance to do without Wally’s encouragement.
Read More: Don’t Make Me Go Movie Review