HotDocs ’22: Don’t Come Searching

Directed by Andrew Moir, Don?t Come Searching is an unflinching look at what it means to struggle with the oncoming view of death and the strength it takes to keep going. Committed to caring for his family in Jamaica, Delroy Dunkley?s financial situation demands that he leave them for six months each year for seasonal work in Canada. Excited to ask his partner Sophia to marry him upon his return, Delroy?s situation takes a dramatic turn when he?s diagnosed with terminal cancer. Sending shockwaves through his family and calling Sophia to take on the role of caregiver for her ailing love and children.

Although at first Searching tappears as though it?s going to focus on issues of economic uncertainty for migrant workers, the film quickly changes course with news of Delroy?s condition. All of a sudden, the film takes on a deeper sense of urgency and credit must be given to Moir for his ability to handle each scene with grace and sensitivity. Delroy?s openness provides an honest and intimate portrait of a man whose primary concern remains his family. 

However, as the cancer begins to spread, the story gradually shifts from Delroy?s illness to Sophia?s strength. With each passing day, Sophia is tasked to take up the burden of being a parent, doctor and caregiver. Even though she herself is struggling deal with her family?s situation, she must become the emotional bedrock of her family. Wrestling with questions of faith and financial stability, Sophia does her best to keep things stable within the home. In many ways, the film is a powerful portrait of love as Sophia never gives up on her partner, even as things continue to worsen. The weight of mortality weighs heavily on her shoulders as she must navigate the challenges of moving forward, even as her children have difficulty fully understanding the moment. 

Don?t Come Searching?could have become a film about healthcare in the face of abject poverty, faith and loss or several other topics. However, ultimately, this is a film that struggles with the strength that it takes to support The one you love in the midst of the worst of circumstances.

To hear our interview with Andrew Moir, producer Michelle Serieux and Sophia Malahoo-Dunkley, click here.

Don?t Come Searching is now playing at HotDocs ?22. For screening information, click here.

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