Even thought 2021 has barely started, the ghost of 2020 is still haunting us. We all liked to think that when we rang in the New Year, our problems would magically disappear, but, deep down, we knew that wasn’t true. Depression and anxiety have been weighing on us all with the pandemic forcing us to stay in our homes and isolate, and Zach Woods’ short film, David, is proof that we could all use someone to talk to. Yes, even men.
David (William Jackson Harper) is admitting to thoughts of suicide to his therapist, played by Will Ferrell, when the film opens. Just as his therapist is reinforcing their safe space, the therapist’s son, coincidentally named David, bursts into his office because he is demanding his father’s presence at his wrestling match. David is set to wrestle a worthy adversary (I won’t give away his nickname), and it’s clear that more is at stake than pinning someone to a mat.
The therapist clearly wants to handle both situations with respect and professionalism, but he can’t seem to get his son out of the office. Ferrell even tries to physically remove his son from the space to finish his session as Harper’s David just tries to stay out of the way.
When Ferrell is on screen, your instinct is to laugh. He doesn’t need to do anything but stand there, and you crack a smile. Even when it gets physical and he slightly raises his voice, you are keenly aware that while this situation is amusing, it’s all rooted in sadness. Woods wisely keeps most of the action in the office to make it more confrontational. He balances the tone so well and keeps it from becoming a death march. We would all watch a short series about Ferrell counseling people, yes.
Even though it can feel like the world is crushing you, it immediately reminds you that others are also feeling pain. Pain doesn’t have to compete with one another to be valid or more important.
David will soon be seen at the Clermont-Ferrand International Short Film Festical and Flickerfest International Short Film Festival.