Written by Anna Harrison
Saul Abraham’s short film Enjoy finds its protagonist Michael (Himesh Patel) unable to enjoy just about anything. A struggling musician also struggling with the deepest throes of depression, Michael drifts aimlessly around his world, being acted upon by others but never acting himself; he can’t even ask his wife, Katie (Maddy Hill), how her day was. His world is blue in every sense of the word, director of photography Tasha Back and production designer Eve Shillingford draping a sense of melancholy throughout the film through use of a cool color palette so that Michael’s exterior world reflects his interior; the result is a sadly beautiful short that easily conveys Michael’s depression without ever naming it.
While trying to pursue music, Michael begins a side gig as a tutor in order to make ends meet. Through this, he meets Archie (Tom Sweet), a foul-mouthed teenager who needles Michael about his lackluster music career. Despite Archie’s abrasive nature, Michael begins to see parallels between the two and, through his sessions with Archie, uncovers the deep sadness that anchors Archie’s anger. (There is a great scene where Archie and Michael recreate Loki’s speech in The Avengers about how “it’s the unspoken truth of humanity that you crave subjugation,” and though it elicits a good chuckle, there’s a much darker idea there of a teen whose life has spun out of control wanting to relinquish any choices so he can avoid pain—or, alternatively, wants to control others so he won’t get hurt again.)
Enjoy isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s an enjoyable short that deals with depression in a very gentle way. Patel and Sweet both give solid performances, making an impact even with a short amount of screentime (around 18 minutes), alternatingly funny and heartbreaking. There is no magic cure for Michael or Archie, as there isn’t for anyone in the world; the color palette doesn’t suddenly change, and Archie doesn’t become a star student overnight, but there remains a deep humanity in the characters that gives a flicker of hope. Though Michael may not be able to enjoy anything, viewers can certainly enjoy Enjoy.