‘Don’t Leave’ Ending, Explained: Do Defne And Semih Get Back Together?

Turkish movies have often made attempts to take a closer look at modern relationships. Be it dating in a workplace or a fluffy romcom, the movies hold a life lesson each time. “Don’t Leave” is one such movie. It talks about Semih and Defne’s relationship and the revelation that Semih goes through after their breakup. Love and dating can be a little rocky to navigate, especially if one is quite self-centric. There’s always a give-and-take involved. “Don’t Leave” makes an attempt to put that give and take in perspective. Using flashbacks throughout the movie, the director takes a question-and-answer approach to untangle the knot of Semih and Defne’s relationship.


Spoilers Ahead

‘Don’t Leave’ Plot Synopsis: What Happens In The Film? 

Semih is a 30-something man who has been single for a while. One day, when he is at a club, a pretty girl catches his eye, and he feels a connection with her. The girl is Defne. He goes up to her and kisses her, but she pushes him back for not asking for her consent. Semih is definitely interested in her, for he keeps on asking his friends about Defne every chance he gets. Defne eventually gives in, and they begin dating. Defne is reluctant at first to commit but eventually does, and the two move in together. 


It is not explicitly mentioned, but Defne does have some mental health problems. When she confesses her love to Semih, she mentions there being a sadness within her that has not vanished due to Semih’s love. The two are physically very active and sometimes very quirky as well. Things are good between the two as long as the matters are light. When Defne informs Semih that her grandmother has passed away, he makes up an excuse that he has an office meeting to attend and ends the phone call. Semih tells his work colleague that he is not good with funerals and deaths. That he doesn’t know how to handle such things. 

Defne soon leaves Semih, having grown frustrated with Semih’s casual attitude. There has always been discord between them, which was unnoticed at first but soon grew into a huge gap. Semih decides to move on as well, just like Defne has. But he finds it difficult to get his mind off Defne. He has his friends and family around, but he refrains from having proper conversations with them. After their breakup, when Semih meets Defne again, he asks for a reason for their breakup. Defne says that there was always Semih in the relationship, but Defne was missing. She was nowhere.


Semih moves to a new place and tries to get a fresh start. On a phone call with his mother, he tells her about a mug that his father bought her. She tells him that it was from Düsseldorf in Germany. She also mentions that when his father left, he took everything with him. This reminds Semih of how Defne took everything from their house as well. Upon hearing the mention of Germany, he breaks down. Defne had a chance to move to Germany, but she didn’t move since Semih didn’t. Semih tells her that he will stay in Turkey since he doesn’t know the language or have a career there. After their breakup, Defne takes the job offer in Germany and moves on with her life. Semih also suffers at his work. He barely works to his potential, and this angers his boss, Ms. Ceyda, as well. Out of concern, she visits him at home and knocks some sense into him. He realizes what he is doing and gets back to his feet.

What Message Does ‘Don’t Leave’ Leave Behind?

“Don’t Leave” speaks about sharing a life with the one you love. It also comments on how to navigate the ups and downs of a relationship. When it comes to loving someone, one has to also think about their partner. In a few cases, a middle ground must be reached, and sometimes one tends to forget that there is a partner to look after as well. Semih starts dating Defne, and they soon move in. He makes grand gestures to declare his love but often misses out on keeping her needs first. In the second half of the movie, Semih confesses to his mother that he cannot tell anyone not to leave him. He regrets not asking Defne not to leave and working on their relationship.


In the epilogue, we see that Semih adopts a dog and learns to care for someone other than himself. When he tells his dog to trust him, in a way, he is also affirming it to himself to trust himself with relationships. Quite some time has passed since Semih and Defne broke up. When they meet again, there is a sense of calm and understanding between them. Semih has also come to terms with reality. He is much calmer and more collected when it comes to his relationships, romantic or otherwise. You realize things a little too late, and by then, it is too late to make any corrections. One can count it as a lesson learned and move on in life. Semih faces a similar predicament after his breakup with Defne and grows into a much more mature individual.

“Don’t Leave” is a 2022 Turkish-language movie. It was released on Netflix on November 11 and stars Burak Deniz and Dilan Çiçek Deniz in lead roles. 

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Nandini Iyengar
Nandini Iyengar
Nandini has grown up on a healthy diet of books, movies and shows. Hailing from a multicultural background, Nandini has tried indulging in art from different corners of India that came naturally to her. Taking the influence further, she delved into foreign languages and indulged in content from across the globe. When she is not watching anything on her laptop, she can be found daydreaming or picking her pen to write a few words of fiction.

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