Movie Review: ‘Run’ (2020), a Psychological Thriller Starring Sarah Paulson

Has madness ever had a loving aura like Sara Paulson’s? American Horror Story actress, Sarah Paulson, stars in a psychological thriller alongside debut actress, Keira Allen, in a twisted and disturbing movie about obsession and emotional trauma. The story, co-written and directed by Aneesh Chaganty (Searching), delves into the life of a single mother, Diane (Sarah Paulson), whose life revolves around her daughter, Chloe (Keira Allen). Chloe is a teen struggling with several health problems– asthma, heart problem, partial  paralysis, diabetes and body rashes that seem to be as a result of her premature birth. She lives a caged life mainly because of her frailty hence the reason for her being home-schooled by her mother and is also deprived of further essentials like the internet and a cell phone. Their doting mother-daughter relationship starts to fester when the reality of college becomes a possibility. Diane, however, resorts to far-fetched means to keep her daughter at home. Unfortunately, Chloe finds a prescription under her mother’s name and recognizes the drug as the one she is usually given. This marks the moment when she begins to suspect that her mother might just be responsible for her sickness or maybe she has just been giving her the wrong medication. As the plot unfolds, she realizes her home might just be the perfect prison for her.

Image via Hulu
Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen in Run

From a lewd and sadistic nurse in Ratched to a mentally deranged mother, Sarah Paulson keeps showing her ruthless side on-screen. She gives life to a nightmarish two-faced role— something only a talented actor can pull off. Run is a tense movie that relies on the astounding acting of Sarah Paulson. Kiera Allen’s brilliant debut is another plus for the movie.  Diane has a placid and calm appearance, an aura she wears like a mask, while underneath is a ticking bomb waiting to explode. Run is a vivid tour depicting that there is always a way even in the most extreme and dire circumstances. The movie’s creativity lies in how a crippled teen with severe health issues is able to survive in a game of hunter and prey, which involves  someone she thought loved her the most,  her mother, with all odds stacked against her. 

As the plot unfolds, doses of intensified moments are thrown at viewers to keep them on edge. Even though the plot seems predictable, it doesn’t make the movie any less thrilling or fun to watch. Chaganty presents Diane as a villain in Run, an obsessed mother who will do anything to keep her daughter with her forever; unfortunately, she’s just a victim of pain. A being who can’t deal, nor confront the ghost(s) of her past. Chloe is her only source of joy, her ‘always and forever’, so she’ll never leave her side. The pain of her past drives her close to the edge of madness. Chaganty did a good job in perfecting suspenseful scenes in Run, he achieved his aim of arresting the attention of viewers to follow each scene and make wild guesses in heightened moments— from a crippled teen means to escape a locked room by using the roof, to a mother’s deceitful tears to get her child back from an outsider. 

Image via Hulu

Run is mostly about the ingenuity of a crippled teen as she strives to flee from her mother’s purgatory and the dissolution of a fondly mother-daughter bond. Like most psychotic people, Diane has a misconstrued interpretation of love. She is  an unstable woman whose loss and insecurity is a trigger for her warped motherly love. The movie portrays a disturbing idea that a crazy mother could turn on her child—  even hurt her, just so they can be together or in this case protect her forever. The great acting of the two main actors gives the movie an exciting twist, especially with the ambiguity of the two faced Diane. So, if you’re looking for a movie thriller to make you ‘run’ back and forth so as not to miss any scene, Run is just the perfect pill.

Rating: 6.5/10

Side Musings 

  • The chilly and unexpected scene where Chloe tries to get access to information and  outsmart her mom but she was there throughout the time lurking in the dark, unfazed— creepy!.
  • Even though Sarah Paulson plays the role of a mentally unstable woman remarkably, Kiera Allen steals the show with her excellent debut. She also uses a wheelchair in real life which makes the movie more intriguing.

Run is available on Hulu in North America and on Netflix in UK.

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