Nathan Xia’s “Doctors Don’t Cry” takes a look at the prevalent link between pressure, academics, and depression in Asian culture. The story is given a modern twist by the use of social media.
Tai’s mother is very proud of him. She spends all day long messaging her friends pictures of achievements like his science olympiad award. This becomes a sort of game of one-upmanship as other Asian moms text back with their own stories of their children’s prestigious internships and test scores. In perhaps the funniest scene of the film, the script is flipped and the moms begin one-upping each other with disappointments like “mine listens to rap music,” and “mine watches “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”
All the while, Tai is beginning to visibly buckle under pressure, looking increasingly strained. One night at dinner he tentatively asks his mother, “Has there ever been any sickness in our family?” Reflecting cultural norms and stigma, his mother talks about people, including his father, being “unlucky,” and other people having “weak minds,” which obviously doesn’t help Tai feel any better.
It soon becomes obvious that Tai is falling further down a spiral that he can’t see his way out of, and that his mother is oblivious to. Like many of our films, “Doctors Don’t Cry” balances humor and pathos very well, and it shows what untreated and exacerbated depression can turn into.
“Doctors Don’t Cry” played in the second shorts block on Saturday 10/12/19, from 5:50 to 7:00 p.m. This is one you don’t want to miss.