Run (2020) Review

Spoiler-free so you can read before you watch

Run (2020) Review

Horrorific content by Jessica Gomez on November 19th, 2020 | Movie Review | Psychological, Medical, Single Mom, Dysfunctional Family, Isolation

A teenager with a slew of health problems suddenly finds that her ailments are possibly being induced by the very mother who cares for her.

Run was directed by Aneesh Chaganty and stars Sarah Paulson (from Bird Box), Pat Healy (from The Innkeepers), Kiera Allen and Onalee Ames.

You can't escape a mother's love

Run Review

If you’re like me and you were captivated by the story of Gypsy Rose and her mother Dee Dee Blanchard, then I’ve got a psychological thriller with your name on it. Run, anchored by American Horror Story favorite Sarah Paulson, explores a doting mother, Diane, and her disease-plagued daughter, Chloe, and the relationship between them that begins to fracture when Chloe decides she’s ready to go off to college.

Chloe was born with a host of health complications, and as a result, she suffers from heart issues, lower body paralysis, diabetes, and daily nausea. Her mother gives up her career as a teacher to homeschool her, and she adheres to strict regiments in order to keep Chloe as well as possible. When one day Chloe spots a medication that is listed under her mother’s name and recognizes the pills as ones she has been given, she begins to question her mother’s motives - and whether she truly needs the medication she readily accepts from the person she trusts most.

I expected some type of twist or more of a reliability issue with Chloe - was her medication actually causing delusions? Had she ever had any inclination that something was wrong prior to this? - but from nearly the beginning of the film it’s clear that Factitious Disorder, formerly and better known as Munchausen by Proxy, was the culprit of Chloe’s ailments. The story is more about the resourcefulness of Chloe and the dynamic between mother and daughter; on the surface, they appear to be close, and even though Chloe leads a strict and sheltered life, she’s extremely intelligent, and she appears to be thriving with the hand she’s been dealt. Except, the deck was stacked.

Though the film has some tense moments where you aren’t sure where it’s going to lead, most of the plot is predictable - but that doesn’t make it any less enjoyable. It’s a batshit crazy thing to do to make, and keep, your child so ill that they need you forever, which is why the story of the Blanchard family was made into its own Hulu series. Interestingly, though what Diane is doing feels evil, there is a level of compassion the viewer can feel for her. She’s suffered a mental break from severe PTSD, and though we (hopefully) don’t relate to her impulses, we can empathize with how she got to where she is. A gentler version of Annie Wilkes of Misery, though no less psychopathic.

Keira Allen is likable and does an especially noteworthy job for her very first feature. I didn’t doubt her as a teenager, grappling with her mother’s possible betrayal and desperate for life outside the confines of her home, for a second. I love a Pat Healy cameo and though his role was brief, his presence stuck with me. And, as always, Paulson is brilliant. I doubt anyone else could have filled that role in such a nuanced way - we never hear her doubting herself, or talk about her inner turmoil, or her panic over her daughter’s restlessness and wantingness to leave. But we see it in the way Paulson commands the screen. The pacing slows toward the end of the film, and the tension eventually wanes, but it’s such a treat to watch her fill a role so copiously that it almost doesn’t matter. 

Worth Watching?

I think so. The story’s not new and could have used a fresher perspective, but I still enjoyed myself. Paulson’s performance alone warrants a watch.

Run Review (2020) Worth Watching? - ALL HORROR Tweet it

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