Derrick Image


By Alan Ng | August 30, 2022

Compassion is an honorable yet burdensome personality trait. Of course, we want to help friends and family who struggle with or through physical, mental, and emotional disorders, but sometimes, that task can be overwhelming. Writer-director Arthur Cartwright’s short film, Derrick, encourages all of us to remain persistent for the sake of family.

Every day, Derrick (Ellis McCaskill) sits alone, reliving the events of his wife’s murder as if a movie was playing in his head. The traumatized Derrick now lives with his sister, Faith (Lauren Lastrada). She was the only family member who’d take him in.

Cut to a therapist who explains Derrick’s condition to Faith. He walks her through the realities of a specific form of the dissociative disorder known as depersonalization/derealization. This disorder occurs when the trauma faced is so horrific that the best way to cope with the intense memory and emotion is for a person to exist outside of their body as if they’re living in a dreamlike existence.

“…puts us in the shoes of Faith and her frustration surrounding caring for her brother, keeping him safe…”

Throughout Derrick, Cartwright never shies away from the threats Faith faces watching over Derrick, highlighting the overwhelming burden it places on her and her family. So you wouldn’t blame her for walking away like many other members of Derrick’s family did.

The short film explores the many roles surrounding the aftereffects of trauma. We are first placed in Derrick’s shoes and what it’s like living with a memory so real; the only answer is to disassociate oneself from the memories and emotions of that memory. Cartwright then puts us in the shoes of Faith and her frustration surrounding caring for her brother, keeping him safe, and maintaining proper boundaries for her daughter. Lastly, we see Derrick’s son, who not only lost his mother but now has no real father in his life.

Derrick tells an emotional and compelling story about trauma. While the narrative is strong and engaging, the film is much more about educating audiences about mental health and the effects of the struggle on loved ones. With the rise of mental health problems, Cartwright’s short is a brief moment of hope and connection that families need today.

Derrick (2022)

Directed and Written: Arthur Cartwright

Starring: Ellis McCaskill, Lauren Lastrada, etc.

Movie score: 8/10

Derrick Image

"…an emotional and compelling story..."

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