Amazon’s ‘Don’t Make Me Go’ is a drama that follows the story of a man and his daughter. When Max discovers that he has only a year left to live, he decides to use it to shape the future of his teen daughter. The time is limited and there is a ton of stuff that needs to be figured out. He has to teach her how to drive. He has to convince her to go to college and build a future for herself. But, most importantly, he has to reunite her with her mother, who is the only person Wally will have left after Max dies.
The film follows the duo as they embark on a road trip, while Max tries to check things off his list. Directed by Hannah Marks, it balances the seriousness of the situation with a few lighthearted moments thrown in the mix. The relationship between Max and Wally is a very real portrayal of the way fathers and daughters act around each other. If this makes you wonder whether the film is based on a true story, then here’s what you should know about it.
Is Don’t Make Me Go a True Story?
No, ‘Don’t Make Me Go’ is not based on a true story. It is based on an original script that Vera Herbert had written ten years before it was brought on the screen. While the events that take place in the film are fictional, Herbert, best known for her work in the emotional drama ‘This is Us’, drew from her own experiences to enrich the father-daughter relationship.
Herbert had been close with her father. They spent a lot of time together, especially going on road trips, which eventually gave her the idea to put Max and Wally in a similar situation. She also threw in a very real incident in the film where Max and Wally end up on a nude beach. When she was 16, Herbert’s father, unintentionally, took his children to a nude beach. However, their reaction was quite different from what Wally had in the film. They sat there for a couple of minutes before deciding it was best that they leave. Herbert also added a dance scene between Max and Wally as a reflection of the dance she’d had with her father when she was around sixteen.
Similarly, the actors and director of the film also added something from their personal experiences to the film. The part where Wally says that her father forced her into traditional African dance classes is taken from actress Mia Isaac’s life. Actor John Cho, who plays Max, also related to the role of being a parent to a daughter himself. Director Hannah Marks added the scene where Max playfully raps in front of his daughter. Cho and Isaac also connected with each other through their roles, especially with this film being Isaac’s first feature. Cho felt like he had to look out for her, teach her the ropes and make her first experience working in a film good. Isaac, being around sixteen at the time of the filming, didn’t find it too difficult to slip into Wally’s role and bring the combination of lovable and rebelliousness to it.
While the film is a fictional tale, it is undeniable that its emotions are rooted in reality, with everyone in the cast and crew contributing to it in their own way. Herbert’s intention in writing such a story was to give a sense of hope to the audience, showing them that even in the face of the worst tragedy, one can find the will to carry on. We see something similar happen with Max. So, even though the story is made up, there is something very real that the audience can take away from it.
Read More: Where Was Don’t Make Me Go Filmed?