A sensitive subject that manages to transcend its 18 minute containment, Saul Abraham‘s Enjoy is a delicate look at depression, specifically in men, and how difficult it is to remove your own psyche from spiralling downwards.
1 in 8 men in Australia experience some form of depression or anxiety, 3 times more common than it is in women, and it’s unfortunately a subject that I am all too familiar with. Watching Enjoy hit a lot of home truths for me, but even in removing myself from what was taking place, I can identify Abraham’s narrative as eerily organic.
There’s no showy breakdown moments, no raised voices in anger – at least not from Enjoy‘s central focus, Michael (Himesh Patel) – and no easy fixes, it’s a snapshot into a life of someone wanting to desperately to remove themselves from their own sadness but unable to do so.
Bathed in a muted tone – it looks bleak but beautiful – the visuals serve as a parallel to Michael’s own feelings as his home life and work life both show signs of promise, though his self-saboteur keeps him from truly noticing the help he has and the help he’s able to provide.
A spoken word musician whose career isn’t flourishing, Michael has taken a second job as a doctor of sorts to young Archibald (Tom Sweet), an angry pre-teen whose mother (Sara Stewart) is unsure how to navigate her son’s feelings. There’s understandable hostility on both ends when Michael and Archibald meet, but a rare window of trust opens up and Michael can recognise his own frustrations at being sad for reasons that can’t be explained through Archie’s misplaced pain.
On the home front Michael is lovingly supported by girlfriend Katie (Maddy Hill), who hopes invites out with friends will prove Michael of his worth. It’s a subtle conversation that runs deeper than the surface would suggest. Clearly understanding of his depressive state but also not allowing it to be an excuse for him to dismiss her, his lack of care in her day and his countless apologies ultimately drive her away, an act that at once helps and hinders his progress.
I saw so much of myself in Michael’s actions when watching Enjoy. Identifying that feeling of both wanting to say more and knowing when to admit your faults. Abraham has managed to address so much in the space of 18 minutes that something of feature length would almost be too much to handle, with Michael’s intention to do better framing itself as a natural undercurrent throughout, instead of a snap decision off disappointing the one person he knows he needs.
A tender, well rounded film that doesn’t talk down to the depressive mentality, nor makes a spectacle of it either, Enjoy is an ironic title for a mind frame that’s heartbreaking to experience, but suitably fitting for a film that treats its subject with respect.
FOUR AND A HALF STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
Enjoy is screening as part of this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which is being presented both virtually and physically between June 9th – 20th, 2021. For more information head to the official Tribeca page.