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Review: Run (2020)

Run (2020)

Directed by: Aneesh Chaganty

Premise: A teenager (Kiera Allen) confined to a wheelchair and coping with a variety of health challenges investigates her medical history. She suspects that her mother (Sarah Paulson) is keeping secrets.

What Works: Run is a paranoia thriller and the extent to which this movie works is largely due to its central performances. Kiera Allen is cast as the physically handicapped daughter and Allen plays an engaging protagonist. There is a tendency in Hollywood films to portray the disabled as idealized or pitiable characters. Allen’s performance is full of life; her character is on the cusp of adulthood. She’s applying to colleges and demonstrates intelligence and volition. Allen is a likable screen presence and she’s vulnerable in a way that makes her character empathetic. Sarah Paulson is cast as the mother and although Paulson is doing the same creepy shtick she perfected over many seasons of American Horror Story she turns up the menace and balances it with a sliver of empathy. In Run, Paulson embodies the parent who is terrified of an empty nest but amplified to an extreme degree. The story of Run makes inventive use of the daughter’s limitations. The filmmakers thought through the challenges of limited mobility and constructed their story from that point of view in a way that gives this familiar scenario a new twist.

What Doesn’t: The excellent performances by Allen and Paulson elevate what is otherwise very silly material. An awful lot in this movie doesn’t make sense; the premise is so fragile that it falls to pieces if the viewer tries to think through any of it logically. The credulity of the movie is suspect right from the outset. With no outside motivation, the teenage daughter suspects that her mother harbors a malicious secret and she goes from trust to paranoia very quickly. The middle of the film consists of a series of reveals that are both very obvious but also increasingly outrageous. This story is not violating arcane HIPAA regulations; anyone who has ever been to a physician or a pharmacist will recognize the credibility problems of this movie. This is most glaring in the big exposition scene; Allen’s character finds a box sitting in plain sight with newspaper clippings and medical documents that layout the entire backstory. This is also a very predictable movie. The lead character’s physical disability adds some ingenuity but at its core Run is a story we’ve seen before and the movie offers few surprises.

DVD extras: Currently available on Hulu.

Bottom Line: Run is an acceptable paranoia thriller. The story is ridiculous and familiar but the performances and the execution are good enough to make Run a modestly entertaining diversion.

Episode: #829 (December 6, 2020)