Content Note: ableism/saneism
Diane (Sarah Paulson) spends basically all of her life with and on her daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen). Chloe is disabled and chronically ill. For a lack of better options, Diane has home-schooled her, but it’s time for Chloe to go to college now. As Chloe eagerly waits for any acceptance letters from colleges, she starts to question her mother’s behavior. Maybe Diane isn’t fine with Chloe leaving. And maybe there’s even more to it than that.
Run is a fine thriller. Despite being a little obvious, it is well-executed enough that it is still tense and will keep you very much engaged with it.
I had to tag this with an ableism note despite the fact that the film cast an disabled actor for Chloe, which is absolutely fantastic (and usually one of the first things that films get wrong) and show her as a capable and competent character throughout who is far from helpless. So, Chloe is really the kind of representation that you’d want for disabled characters. The problem is with Diane. I’m probably not giving too much away when I say that Diane is mentally ill, and this is what makes her a threat to Chloe. It’s a kind of mental illness that has been used often in fiction, even though it is very rare in real life, and that portrays mentally ill people as harmful and dangerous and that is problematic as fuck.
But other than that, the film gets many things right, particularly in the way it tells its story. There’s palpable tension, and even if you’ve guessed what is going on very early in the film, the film doesn’t hinge on surprising you. Instead it builds on Chloe slowly figuring things out in scenes that are pretty nerve-wracking and show just how capable and inventive she is. And that is extremely engaging to watch.
Especially because Paulson and Allen are both excellent in their respective roles and manage to feed each other’s character in a way that makes not only their characters feel very believeable, but also their relationship with each other. With Paulson, that comes as no surprise – Diane is right up her alley – but Allen is a newcomer and quite the discovery.
Towards the end, the film becomes a bit hyperbolic, veering more into camp than the beginning would suggest, but that is not necessarily a bad thing. I had a good time with it in any case, all the way through.
Summarizing: tense and entertaining.