Don’t Leave (2022) review: Excellent depiction of post-loss introspection

In ‘Don’t Leave’, Semih attempts to get over heartbreak after his girlfriend, Defne, suddenly leaves. The Turkish drama film is now streaming on Netflix.


Semih (Burak Deniz) is struggling to move on after being suddenly abandoned by his girlfriend, Defne (Dilan Çiçek Deniz).

The narrative is divided into two parts: One explores Semih’s struggle in the present day and the other shows how he met her, and how their relationship went downhill later on.

Semih and Defne didn’t exactly get off to the greatest start. He tried kissing her in a drunken state the moment he met her, and this annoyed her.

However, she realised slowly that Semih is good at heart and they came closer with time. But their conflicting personalities led to the two drifting apart.

Now, Semih is falling into a state of depression after losing her. Coupled with how his father suddenly left one day, this incident has drastically impacted him.

Will he get back together with Defne, or move on and find peace?


Burak Deniz is nothing short of scintillating as Semih in a largely two-person film. The character is a complex one, and Deniz completely transforms into Semih.

Çiçek Deniz complements him extremely well and their chemistry helps elevate the film. Their scenes together are strong and give the viewers an insight into the relationship.


The film’s exploration of themes and growth of Semih as a parson through two different timelines works extremely well. Constantly switching between the past and present, ‘Don’t Leave’ takes its time in divulging all the details of Semih and Defoe’s relationship.

This keeps the viewers hooked, who are on this journey with Semih, but want to know more about the past as well. Speaking of Semih’s journey, his entire arc is captivating. At the start, he doesn’t even realise why Defne left.

Through the course of the film, he comes to terms with facets of his own personality and accepts his vices, allowing him to finally grow as a person.

This growth feels organic and doesn’t happen all of a sudden. You can feel Semih confronting his mistakes and his past, as well as what brought about the change in him.

The conclusion is realistic yet fulfilling. This is a nuanced drama and not some superficial narrative where everything is rosy at the end. Semih’s fate is well-earned.


Apart from Semih and Defne, no character is memorable. There was definitely scope for more development, especially when the film does have a large slate of characters. But they’re all reduced to cameos.


‘Don’t Leave’ is a well-written, engaging film that doesn’t disappoint. If you enjoy slow-burn dramas, this should definitely be on your watch list.

Don't Leave
Don’t Leave (2022) review: Excellent depiction of post-loss introspection 1

Director: Grzegorz Lewandowski

Date Created: 2022-11-11 18:08

Editor's Rating:

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