A family drama about mental illness in the very young, “No Letting Go” seeks to shed light on this issue through the story of Tim, the middle son of Catherine (Cheryl Allison) and Henry (Richard Burgi).
Catherine initially takes on the bulk of the burden tackling Tim’s issues, but director Jonathan D. Bucari’s film illustrates how his behavior radiates throughout his family, friends and community. A time jump from age 10 to 14 shows how these issues can persist for years, with many brushing it off as “a phase.”
“No Letting Go” has all the subtlety of an after-school special, and the performances feel like they’re from a public service announcement about mental illness. As wildly mercurial as Tim can be (he’s played by David Schallipp and Noah Silverman), it’s the parents who can be the most frustrating to the viewer as they are overly indulgent and seemingly unwilling to recognize their son’s issues early on.
In typical PSA fashion, there’s a dearth of subtext as characters spout platitudes about self-care and read poems about nature’s therapeutic qualities to the tune of a treacly piano score. Kathy Najimy and “Spotlight’s” Neal Huff are the easy standouts as the warm and insightful therapists who offer treatment. Clearly an important and relevant topic, one wishes the filmmaker had approached the subject with a better sense of nuance.
‘No Letting Go’
Running time: 1 hour, 44 minutes
Playing: Laemmle Noho 7, North Hollywood