Originally scheduled for a Mother’s Day weekend release in theaters, Run was shelved due to the pandemic. Hulu eventually picked up the distribution rights and scheduled a November 20, 2020 release. I do not think you will miss out by watching this on the small screen, but I am kind of bummed that this movie missed its Mother’s Day debut. I live for those fun and campy promotional details.
The film begins with Diane Sherman (Sarah Paulson) giving birth to a medically fragile daughter. The screen shows a list with descriptions of different medical conditions including arrhythmia, hemochromatosis, paralysis, diabetes, and asthma–presumably the baby’s diagnoses. We then jump to seventeen years later and Diane is attending the required meeting for her homeschooling association. She professes her pride at the strength and resilience of her daughter Chloe (Kiera Allen), who now has the opportunity to go to college and enjoy all of the life experiences that Diane has denied herself while being a full-time caregiver.
Chloe participates in a fairly extensive routine of medications, therapies, and schooling on a daily basis. Despite this, all appearances indicate she is a happy and well-adjusted teenager. When Chloe finds a prescription bottle with her mother’s name on the label she becomes curious. When Diane gives the medication to Chole, insisting it is prescribed for her, Chloe begins to question everything.
Things escalate quickly, with the mysterious medication bottle being the only clue presented to Chloe before she launches into a full-blown investigation. The pace keeps things from dragging, but it also leaves more than a few questions unanswered. We do not learn of any conflict in the home from before this moment. Chloe lives a very isolated life, under her mother’s complete and total protection. Was there ever any moment of teenage rebellion? A time when Chloe longed to hang out with similarly aged friends? We never find out. While these omissions do not create glaring plot holes, they leave things unanswered that the pedantic amongst us (i.e., me) will find annoying.
You might be expecting a story of Munchausen-by-proxy similar toThe Act, What you get, however, has more in common withWhatever Happened To Baby Jane. How does a teenager with multiple medical issues who uses a wheelchair escape her overbearing and potentially deadly mother? Not very easily, it turns out. While director Aneesh Chaganty might skimp on some of the storytelling details, he does his best to make up for it with plenty of tension and suspense. You will not have time to get bored, that is for sure. Paulson, who has proven many times over that she can play unhinged characters well, is equitably matched in acting prowess by newcomer Allen. She portrays the terrified and confused daughter with a skill that belies this being her feature film debut. Both actors keep this film on track when it could easily fall off the rails in less capable hands.
This movie is, to its detriment, mostly predictable, I wanted it to go a little deeper into the motivations and the madness of Paulson’s character rather than relying so heavily on the action and suspense. Clocking in at only 90 minutes, the filmmakers clearly had the time to tell the full story, but not the interest. Lack of originality and missing story details aside, Run does give you a taut hour and a half of well-acted entertainment. Oh, and that ending? The last scene surprised me, so there is that.
You can stream Run on Hulu beginning on November 20, 2020.
Update: Run Deleted Scenes
Now that Run is streaming on Hulu, I wanted to make sure to mention the three deleted scenes introduced by director Aneesh Chaganty. The scenes are brief, but they answer so many of the questions I had after watching the film. Their omission is a bit of a headscratcher, as the run time would have still been well under 2 hours if they were included, but here we are. If you enjoyed Run, these are definitely worth a watch.
Rating: PG-13 (Disturbing Thematic Content|Some Violence/Terror|Language)
Runtime: 1h 30m
They say you can never escape a mother’s love… but for Chloe, that’s not a comfort — it’s a threat. There’s something unnatural, even sinister about the relationship between Chloe (newcomer Kiera Allen) and her mom, Diane (Sarah Paulson). Diane has raised her daughter in total isolation, controlling every move she’s made since birth, and there are secrets that Chloe’s only beginning to grasp. From the visionary writers, producers and director of the breakout film Searching, comes a suspense thriller that shows that when mom gets a little too close, you need to RUN.