After the passing of his grandmother, Peter (Jesse Wakeman) returns to his hometown to sort out her affairs. After losing his wallet after arriving, Peter tries to find his childhood friend Donald (Kris Avedisian, who also writes and directs), who just happens to still live at home with his parents. Peter isn’t exactly happy about being in his hometown, and he just wants Donald to give him a ride and hopefully lend him some money. Donald has other plans though. He is excited to see Peter, and wants to spend the day with him. Stuck on a day out that he’d rather not be on, Peter is forced to deal with a past he’s tried to forget while Donald is just happy to have a friend around again.
Quiet is probably the best way to describe Donald Cried. There are no giant revelations or outrageous situations, and no character is going to find themselves by the end. This is a film that simply lives in the moment of its characters, with every awkward situation spread out before us. Through little moments that are revealed over the course of the film, we come to understand why Peter may not want to be back in his hometown, and why Donald seems like he’s never grown up since high school.
Donald Cried is basically one uncomfortable situation stretched out over 90 minutes, which may not sound entertaining at first, but works so well because of the performances from Wakeman and Avedisian. Wakeman’s Peter doesn’t fit into the small town he came from any more, but it never feels like he’s above it all. While he’s gone on to become successful, there’s never a moment where he comes off as snobby about it. Avedisian does an even better job as Donald, who could easily have become a typical man-child character. While he does seem like he hasn’t really grown up very much since school finished and Peter was gone, you can see that he fully understands this, and you can start to see that it may be more of a crutch than an inability to become a man.
The gradual rebuilding of their relationship feels very natural, and the tiny reveals of their past shine a brighter light on the men they’ve become. It may not come across as a powerful film, but it’s something that grows the longer you sit with it. There’s no grand change to be found for the characters after their day together, but you start to see how its been something that they both needed, whether they know it or not. Just like life, we may not always realize that something was good for us until it’s over. The same can be said for the characters to be found in Donald Cried. You’ll be left with a satisfied feeling after the film, and that’s not something every film around can claim to leave viewers with.