Therapy is something that has received much more positively now than before. Much of its negativity has to do with a stigma that’s frequently attached to therapy, which has done nothing but further hurt those who are hurting. Although that stigma has somewhat faded and therapy has begun to become more readily accepted, today, few films deal with what people go through in therapy. Movies like Who Needs It? definitely further help break this stigma further and makes for an interesting watch.
Keith B. Real (Marcus D. Spencer) is a couples therapist who helps them with their issues. We follow him through three couples: Malachi and Sharon (Micheal Grayson and Sherill Quinn), Derek and Layla (Felix Harry and Samili Watson) and Giselle, Larry and Kevin, Giselle’s former lover (Quania Jones, Dawayne Jordan and Jason King). As the couples open up, Keith helps them through their problems from racial issues, to childcare, to work issues and even sex.
As one could tell by how the summary is written, this film doesn’t really have a traditional story. Rather, it’s more like three vignettes that take the form of therapy sessions which are formatted more like actual therapy sessions than a movie. As such, the film focuses on being as real as possible which it succeeds with flying colors. The film feels very close to life throughout, with none of the issues the couples have feeling too over the top and being very relatable, something very rarely done in film. To complement the down to earth and realistic storytelling, the dialogue is also engaging, humorous and heartfelt throughout. It feels very human, as if what’s being spoken is actually a conversation rather than being scripted.
One thing that benefits the film greatly is the characters. The cast does a good job portraying their characters and making them feel like real people. Each couple has believable chemistry, with none of the characters feeling manufactured and none of the acting is wooden. Our lead, Marcus D. Spencer is charming and likable. He talks and acts like how a therapist should and is never hostile or mean to his patients. In a way, he almost reminds me of Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting. While the patients act unreasonably, their motives and logic are understandable and the actors capture that realistic feeling perfectly.
With most films dealing with couples in therapy, there has to be a character, or set of characters, who are just plain jerks. However, that just isn’t the case for Who Needs It? I was pleasantly surprised to see that none of them are jerks. In a film with this premise, the expectation would be for at least one of the couples to be in a fundamentally broken relationship, as it would add conflict. But none of the couples are like that, rather they are all couples that have some issues but otherwise are loving couples. Even the odd group out, the group of three, isn’t in some love triangle or something dumb like that. The conflict of the film instead comes from the characters and their very real and relatable issues. Each issue was interesting as it was seldom truly a black and white case. Sometimes one was at fault, other times it was just a miscommunication, sometimes both were at fault and most of the time neither was at fault. The characters ultimately feel real and are likable, which is what makes the film stand out as it may.
Before I started watching Who Needs It?, I expected it to be a romantic comedy. But after the credits rolled, I realized that it is one of the most unique films that I’ve come across. It takes place in only one room, but the focus on its characters and their struggles is done so well that you often forget that you’re just watching people sitting in a room talk. With superb dialogue and a realistic portrayal of couples therapy, Marcus D. Spencer’s Who Needs It? is a solid watch. If you are interested in checking it out, it’s free on Tubi and Amazon Prime!