Don’t Let Go (2019) – Summary, Review (with Spoilers)

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Thanks to the performances of Storm Reid and David Oyelowo, Don’t Let Go will have you crying and your chest tight due to fear.


Director(s) Jacob Estes
Screenplay By Jacob Estes
Date Released 8/30/2019
Genre(s) Thriller, Crime, Drama, Fantasy, Mystery
Good If You Like
  • Close Relationships Between A Girl & Her Uncle/ Father Figure
  • Light Fantasy Elements, In Terms Of Them Talking Across Time
  • A Hint Of Mystery
  • Fearing The Worst-Case Scenario May Happen
Noted Cast
Ashley Storm Reid
Jack David Oyelowo
Kenneth Brian Tyree Henry
Susan Shinelle Azoroh
Bobby Mykelti Williamson
Chief Howard Alfred Molina

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Don’t Let Go Plot Summary/ Review

11-year-old Ashley has a really close relationship with her paternal uncle, Jack. Likely due to her father, Kenneth, being someone who was inconsistent when she was younger. But, he has gotten better, is on his medication and has distanced himself from the life he had before. Thus leading to the question of how and why Ashley, Kenneth, and Kenneth’s wife Susan end up dead. Much less, why is it billed a double murder and suicide? It doesn’t make sense, and it leaves Jack racking his brain.

That is until, almost two weeks after her death, Ashley calls, spry and lively, and seemingly not from the next world, trying to help her murder get solved, but from the past. Thus leading Jack to hope he can create a time paradox which will cause his family to survive, if not avoid, whoever massacred them.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. Should we just consider it a miracle, or blessing from God, that Jack was able to talk to Ashley in the past? At least based off his wish during Ashley, Susan, and Kenneth’s funeral?
  2. What led to Ashley and her family’s original death, before Jack was involved? Considering what caused the deaths which followed?

Highlights

The Emotional Attachment You Will Have

What makes this film is honestly Storm Reid. Not to downplay Oyelowo’s part, but it is the emotional attachment you gain, when it comes to Ashley, which drives how invested you are in the film. For it is with seeing this sweet, but realistic, child brutally murdered, more than once, that messes you all up in the head. So as much as Oyelowo is the lead, watching him try to save her makes him more so a middle man, like a character you barely have control over in a video game.

Which makes every move made something which will tighten your chest for considering how the film leans towards the idea it may not deliver a happy ending, you are forced to fear the worse. Making it so, as we come to what will decide Ashley’s fate, you might be brought to tears for it seems like, despite all Jake has done, her fate is sealed.

The Time Travel Element

While more could have been done with it, you have to admire how the conversations, across two weeks, were used as a plot device. It helped shake things up a bit and made it so Reid and Oyelowo were allowed to both show themselves as the carefree kid, and worried uncle. And, in a way, it pushed the idea their bond was so strong and loving it was truly beyond the limits of space and time. Thus allowing Jake to get the chance to save his niece.

On The Fence

The Build To The Reveal, And The Reveal Itself

To be fair, while you may fall in love with Ashley and Jake’s relationship, one could say it compensates for the investigation into who killed her and her parents. An investigation which really doesn’t push much of a whodunit angle, and leads to a reveal, or twist, which some may see coming. If only because the film doesn’t dive too deep into any of its characters.

For example, we don’t find out anything about Susan; Jake is pretty much defined as an uncle, a cop, and Kenneth’s brother, nothing beyond that; and even if we talk about Jake’s partner Bobby or Chief Howard, there is very little said about them beyond knowing they have kids. Making it so, it pushes you to realize that, unless this film is going to have someone random be the villain, it is likely someone you know.

Making the reveal of who it is, in retrospect, slightly kill a lot of the build to the films final scenes. Though I will say, considering the state of mind those involved with Ashley, and her family’s, death, that is what will make your chest tighten and shoulders tense. For if they were able to kill a child, who is to say Jake, with him digging his nose where it doesn’t belong, may die with the truth?

Don’t Let Go Overall: Positive (Worth Seeing)

Ultimately, Don’t Let Go, benefits from what Reid brings as an actress. She gives you a reason to care about Jake’s plight and the film hinges on you feeling something for her. Which, with the talent Reid has, it draws you in, gets you attached, and has you fearful that, with the film having 0 issues with showing you the corpse of an 11-year-old, brutally murdered, who is to say we may get a happy ending here?

Hence the positive rating, and recommendation. While the story is simply, with a little flavor thanks to the time travel gimmick, Reid’s chemistry with Oyelowo and the connection she coerces you to have with Ashley takes Don’t Let Go to the next level. Showing that she is truly one to watch and to expect to be a long term figure in Hollywood.

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