Dodgson (2019) - Plot Summary Poster



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  • Upon the discovery of his estranged father's death, a jaded therapist with a life-long speech impairment is forced to confront former childhood traumas. The event suddenly unearths a slew of latent emotions, which triggers the return of his stutter, drastically affects his behavior and forces him to contemplate the unresolved issues from his past.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • Isaac Dodge is a clinical psychologist who leads a very mundane, predictable, and controlled life. Having grown weary of his daily routine and thereby complacent with his formulaic approach to therapy, Isaac comes off as repetitive, apathetic, and unhelpful to those who seek his professional guidance.

    One evening, just as he is concluding a session with a young schizophrenic female patient, Isaac is abruptly alerted that his antagonistic father, a famous cartoonist, has passed away. As his own mental-health shifts radically into a perpetual state of flux, Isaac painfully recalls a series of unresolved memories from his childhood that have haunted his subconscious for decades.

    Along with an unwillingness to sleep at night due to the agony of his dreams, Isaac's newly acquired negligence for personal hygiene all but breaks the thin veneer of professionalism within the workplace. Consumed by an inexplicable sense of grief, Isaac's emotional decay inevitably reaches its peak when he begins to fire back an unrelenting array of crude and candid responses to each one of his male patients. Isaac's unorthodox technique initially proves unsuccessful and provokes a mixture of anger, embarrassment, and confusion from those who rely on him for psychiatric advice.

    Several weeks pass. Not a single one of Isaac's patients, for whom he recently berated has reached out...

    Fast forward to Christmas Eve, Isaac is suddenly awakened out of a deep sleep by a loud knock on his front door. Much to Isaac's fear, the patient whom had last been seen storming out of the office in anger, barges inside to confront him. After a brief, tension-filled moment of silence the patient moves in, unexpectedly embraces Isaac, and weeps on his shoulder while giving thanks. This stunning turn of events catches Isaac completely off-guard, leaving him bewildered at the conclusion of the encounter. From here, Isaac experiences an overwhelming cascade of gratitude from his other patients.

    While Isaac's gut-punch methodology and verbally abrasive dose of reality may not have been what his patients wanted to hear, it proves to be exactly what they needed. From this, Isaac comes to realize the importance of self-acceptance; embracing one's own flaws rather than avoiding them. Overwhelmed with emotion, Isaac discovers a rejuvenated sense of purpose as a psychologist. More importantly, Isaac is able to find solace in the circumstances that have troubled his own life for decades. Although the film ends with Isaac still grieving over the loss of his father, the final few frames suggest that he is able to accept the imperfections of life.

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