Review: Enjoy

Directed by Saul Abraham and written by Callum Cameron, progressive muscle relaxation, Lycra, spoken word. As Michael seeks novel ways to halt his spiralling depression, a moment of hope arrives via an unexpected source. Starring: Himesh Patel, Sara Stewart, Jonathan Aris, Maddy Hill and Tom Sweet.

It’s a sign of great progress that mental health issues are becoming more frequently discussed and featured in film and television. After so many years of derogatory or dismissive attitudes to illnesses such as depression, they’ve finally reached a point where they can be represented with honesty and that’s a good way to describe what this film does. The writing presents the story of Michael (Himesh Patel) in such a relatable, everyday way; his struggles are ones countless people have dealt with and are likely still dealing with. It explores depression in a way that highlights how there’s no quick fix, or potentially any, it’s an ongoing battle, and so the film shows moments that push further into despair and those of genuine connection which, no matter how brief, provide some much needed respite. There are key elements to the script that show the signs to look for in people who need help, and not only that but how even those struggling themselves may not recognise it in others. Its overall style is subtle and real, making it wonderfully effective.

Callum Cameron’s style is matched perfectly with Saul Abraham’s direction. The colour palette and hue keep its feet on the ground but it also adapts as it enters different environments. Particularly when it enters the home of Archie (Tom Sweet), becoming aesthetically cleaner, sharper and more intricately decorated. Scenes with Michael at the public pool are a perfect visual metaphor for his struggle and loneliness, there’s a certain quality to shooting off-season pools in Britain that are instantly atmospheric. Despite remaining grounded, it doesn’t sacrifice its style, there’s a beautiful simplicity to it, observing its characters and then gradually getting closer to them as they face their emotions and open up. The editing cleverly only increases the pace in crucial moments, emphasising its key scene in particular but otherwise remaining subtle and understated.

All those elements are sewn together by the film’s performances, led by Himesh Patel (Yesterday) who brings an utterly relatable and sympathetic feel to his portrayal. He brings his comedic edge to make Michael feel even more grounded, his experiences and the way Patel performs them feel pulled directly out of real life. He manages to hit the notes of both being guarded and slightly shut down, and ones of vulnerability and shyness. Sara Stewart can play a role of posh mother in her sleep but what makes this a great performance is its layers. At first she feels like a classic rich person throwing money at the problem but as time goes on, you can feel her worry and discomfort in not being able to help her son because he won’t talk to her. Tom Sweet is superb as Archie, getting down the typical brutal honesty of kids, and a refusal to let other people in but then opens himself up in such an exposed and unexpected way, it’s a delightful surprise. Having Jonathan Aris playing the fellow swimmer was another great touch, it’s only a small role and he says one single word in the entire film and yet so clearly brings across a very specific personality.

Enjoy is a fantastic way to open up a conversation about mental health, watching it could make you realise you can talk to other people, or maybe even make you realise that someone you know is struggling. The direction and visual quality are brilliant, paired with terrific writing, the two go hand in hand superbly. Patel, Stewart and Sweet all give layered, touching performances that help to push the film’s atmosphere of honesty and understanding even further. It’s relatable, moving and sincere.

Verdict: ✯✯✯✯✯| 10/10

Currently screening at Palm Springs International ShortFest from 22nd June – 28th June
& was shown earlier this month at Tribeca Film Festival

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