SXSW 2023: ‘Pure O’ Is A Bittersweet Tale Of Coping With OCD

by Gary Catig

Filmmaker Dillon Tucker was working as a counselor at a drug and alcohol rehab center when he was diagnosed with OCD. He used those experiences during that time as inspiration for his movie, Pure O, which had its world premiere in the Narrative Feature Competition at this year’s SXSW.

We follow a young man named Cooper Ganz (Daniel Dorr) who is diagnosed with Pure Obsessional, or Pure O for short. It is a debilitating form of OCD that begins to overwhelm his life. He finds difficulty in accepting his disease while also trying to balance all his other complications including work and his personal relationships.

Cooper sets out on a fascinating journey that sheds light on the wide variety of forms of OCD. Hollywood always has a singular vision of people who have the disease, and Pure O provides a more realistic depiction of its different forms. It isn’t an always consuming illness and an unexpected stimulus can spark a more severe episode. The feature also displays the double-edged sword of modern technology with the ability to better understand what you’re going through while at the same time providing a rabbit hole of alarming self-diagnosis.

Dorr instills his character with a big heart making Cooper and amiable protagonist to get behind. Despite his own personal issues, Cooper doesn’t shy away from his responsibilities to those closest to him and to those who depend on him. Dorr also effectively channels the inner turmoil of coping with Pure Obsessional with a genuine desire to get better. Cooper undergoes so much growth over the film with his initial apprehensions in opening up to others to fully embracing his support group. He even makes so much progress that he becomes a pillar in someone else’s recovery. It’s that vulnerability that allows him to connect on another level with people.

Puro O delivers an emotional and poignant experience because sometimes life isn’t always fair. Cooper does get knocked down and sad things happen, but it’s his maturation and ability to overcome that makes you feel he will be alright.

Stay tuned to for more of our SXSW 2023 coverage.

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