‘Don’t Leave’ or ‘Kal’ is a Turkish drama that explores Semih’s life after his girlfriend, Defne, leaves him abruptly. The film focuses on two timelines, the past and the present. It is now streaming on Netflix.
Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers
Semih is shown drinking at his house, unable to reach Defne on her phone. She is revealed to have broken up with him and simply left. He is also revealed to have a penchant for sketching.
In the past, Semih met Defne at a bar when he was drunk. She was a friend of his friend, Nazim. Noticing her smiling at him, Semih kissed her, which didn’t go well with her.
She rebuked him for making a move just because of a smile. Later, she starts to feel differently after he buys cotton candy from a man on the street, moments after Defne said she felt bad because nobody bought from them.
Eventually, Semih and Defne start spending more time together and start dating. However, their relationship is shown to be far from perfect.
Semih is a spontaneous person, while Defne is more simple. She often used to question whether he felt she was boring.
In one instance, he forgot to get her clothes from the dry cleaners, even when she told her how important it was since she had a meeting.
She would often feel jealous when she caught Semih staring at other women. At a party, she even sarcastically tried bringing him and the girl he was staring at together.
Their relationship really began deteriorating when Defne’s grandmother passed away and Semih chose to miss the funeral by making excuses that he was extremely busy at work.
He later showed up on her plane, apologised and accompanied her to a conference. When she was busy, he got cosy with another woman.
Although nothing happened physically, she caught him texting with her. They made up later but the string of Semih’s mess-ups continued.
One day, he fell sick, and despite Defne’s attempt to take him to a hospital, just fell asleep in the bathroom. Annoyed by his immature behaviour, she just left.
In the present day, all his friends keep bringing up Defne and whether he is over her. He decides to move and get a new place as well. His work is also suffering as he is unable to focus due to the trauma of suddenly losing Defne.
His brother, who is 13 years younger than him, also tells him that Defne has deleted all his pictures on her social media, which means that she wants him to be hurt.
Don’t Leave ending explained in detail:
Do Semih and Defne meet again?
One day, drunk after a party, Semih finds a dog. He vents out his feelings about Defne moving to Hannover, Germany, to a Dog.
He says that he is finally giving up. He tries to ask his colleague, Ozge, to give him affection, but she refuses to flirt with him anymore and reveals that she is pregnant.
The next day, he realises Defne came to his house and just left. He follows after her and she tells him that they met the day before.
Semih has no memory of it and in his drunken state, thought it was a Dog. Defne tells him that he was just asking her if he messed up and whether he was wrong.
For Semih, everything has always been about him. He never even asked where Defne went and whether she was okay. This arrogance and self-absorbed attitude are why she ended up deserting him.
Does Semih realise his mistakes?
His boss, Ceyda, visits him and advises him not to compromise on his professional responsibilities because of what happens in his personal life.
Semih calls his mother and asks her about something that he kept with himself. It was the only thing his father left behind when he left them.
When Semih asks what it was, her mother says it wasn’t anything important. His father possibly just forgot about it, he could never leave his sins.
Semih thinks that he inherited his father’s sins. But his mother consoles him and tells him he needs to deal with his heartbreak in his own way. Defne leaving affected him this much because of his past heartbreak of his father leaving suddenly.
He rekindles his love for sketching and finishes the work he owed Ceyda. He finds a new place to live and leaves the job to start afresh.
Remembering how Defne said her grandmother loved Semih, he finally visits her grave and leaves flowers. He also gets a new tattoo that says ‘a constant itch against one’s nature’.
Realising he needs to learn to care for someone else, Semih adopts a dog and names it Rustem. He tearfully promises Rustem that he can count on him.
What happens at the end?
One day, when Semih is walking Rustem, he runs into Defne. She reveals that she now lives in Germany and is in town for a vacation.
Noticing his new tattoo, she comments that while it’s nice, she wouldn’t pick it for him. She would go for ‘firecracker, and behind it is the darkness’.
Semih remarks that although he thought Defne said everything she wanted to say to him, she still had this. He leaves her with the words “it’s great to remember”, referring to how they’ll always have each other’s memories.
Although he walks away with a hint of sadness, it quickly turns into a smile. Semih is finally in a good place mentally, and it has taken a lot for him to get there.
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