Directed by Zach Woods (Silicon Valley, The Office) the story of David depicts a father torn between life at home and his career as a therapist. In the film, we see a young man called David, played by William Jackson Harper (The Good Place) who is depressed and confesses his need for suicide. This is where he reaches out to his therapist, played by Will Ferrell (Step Brothers, Elf, Anchorman etc) who agrees to see him for an emergency session. But David isn’t the only one who needs help…
In Woods’ directorial debut, this short film (running time of only 11 minutes) brings you Will Ferrell like you’ve never seen him before. So used to the slapstick humour from films like Step Brothers, Anchorman, The Other Guys, Daddy’s Home and Zoolander, we finally peek behind the curtain to get a short glimpse into the more serious version of Mr Ferrell. David is of course a fusion of dark comedy and dramatic tension, so you will find yourself laughing – however it’s a very different sense of humour that fuels this film.
It goes without saying, the performances from all three main actors are outstanding, including Fred Hechinger (News of the World, Alex Strangelove) who plays the therapist’s young teenage son, also called David. According to Woods,”I wanted to make a movie about people who are funny and sad and trying their best – which, in my limited experience, is most people”.
The film setting is intimate and raw. You feel a sense of overwhelming power emanate off all three men as they collide and intertwine with each other on all emotional levels. It’s intriguing to watch, especially from the point of view of knowing how therapy works, how we all struggle internally.
What astounds me is how different both David’s are, not just as two individual men but in the way their personalities clash and how one is quiet and timid (and who wants to commit suicide) and the other, the younger son, is bouncing off the walls, all loud and energetic. A key moment in the film happens when the younger David sees the other David, after being told he’s depressed, and says “You look fine”… It is a stark depicition of what is so wrong with the world today.
Assumptions and stereotypes. David looks fine so he must be fine. When Hechinger’s David says this, you feel this gut twisting feeling inside you that makes you think just how naive this young boy is…. when it turns out, he’s probably just as damaged, if not more.