It’s no doubt parents have an impact on their children, either with their absence or presence. They have an indestructible attachment with their children that allows parents to provide them with the very best. But to what lengths will a parent go to protect their child? At what point does a mother’s love become too much? Diane Sherman (Sarah Paulson) explores these qualities of motherhood in Hulu’s recent film “Run,” a psychological thriller in which her overprotective nature prevents a teenager from going to college.
“Run” opens up in a grim hospital setting where Diane loses her premature newborn to a plethora of health problems. It then transitions to her later years living with a paraplegic 17-year-old, Chloe Sherman (Kiera Allen), in an isolated house where they conform like robots to a daily routine Diane schedules: Chloe takes her medications, does her exercises and is homeschooled. Everything is hyper-organized, and it all seems too perfect. When Chloe becomes aware of Diane’s pretenses, she becomes enthralled in a hunt that brings about multiple unsettling discoveries.
The film utilizes a plot that disengages the audience to a certain degree. In the beginning, the narrative is too fast as it immediately transitions from the newborn to a teenager ready for college without a backstory that prevents the audience from witnessing Diane’s journey as a mother. Then, the plot twist is revealed early in the film, which makes the character’s intentions and actions predictable. For example, in one scene, Chloe tries to go behind her mother’s back to seek answers for a suspicious medication at a pharmacy, and it is apparent that Diane will find her soon. However, the storyline is still intriguing for the most part. The ending and Diane’s fate seem anticlimactic at first, but a cliffhanger reveals the possibility of a sequel. “Run” also uses an interesting storytelling technique as we travel along Chloe’s journey as she tries to read her enigmatic mother and obtain the truth. The audience is kept in the dark just as much as Chloe is, and we follow her as she solves the mystery.
With Paulson as the lead, it’s no doubt that “Run” has praiseworthy performances. Paulson is known for her roles in horror shows such as “American Horror Story” and “Ratched,” and her unique performances in these shows make her the embodiment of horror. Paulson captures an insane mother with facial expressions that are creepy yet still express her motherly concern. She delivers her lines exceptionally with a hint of innocence that makes the audience want to believe her. Paulson has an interesting character dynamic because she captures a warm motherly aura, but uneasiness surrounds her character. Moreover, Allen outdoes herself as she performs arduous scenes exceptionally and with great confidence. Chloe is very intelligent and puts her knowledge to the test when faced with difficult situations. Allen completely immerses herself in her character as she becomes engulfed in emotions of rage, fear and shock as her character discovers Diane’s truth.
The soundtrack works extremely well in setting the terrifying tone of the film. The fast-paced music which ensues when Chloe secretly tries to uncover answers places the audience on the edge of their seats as they wonder whether she will get caught. Moreover, the music makes the audience view the settings from a different perspective. For example, one would look at the house and see it as a welcoming, comforting sanctuary where Diane and Chloe live a happy life. However, the eerie and ominous music shows it as a cage where Chloe is limited to the confines of her mother’s desires. The chilling, as opposed to the lighthearted music in the house, makes it feel as if the house is being haunted by Diane and strips it from safety.
With Diane controlling Chloe to fill a void of loneliness, “Run” calls into question whether Diane’s actions as a mother are justified. The film highlights motherly grief and the emotional toll it has on a child. On one hand, Diane cares about Chloe and would do anything for her. On the other, she becomes obsessive by controlling every minute of her day. Although some of Diane’s efforts may be seen as motherly love, the film paints a tainted relationship between the two.
Ultimately, “Run” lives up to its name, as Chloe must escape from a deranged mother’s clutches. Despite the minimal flaws in plot, the outstanding performances and soundtrack immerse the viewer into the mystery that is sure to make one’s skin crawl.
Verdict: If you’re craving a good thriller, “Run” is a great one-time watch that is sure to captivate you with its applaudable performances. A mother’s love is unconditional, though Diane’s psychotic nature showcases how it can chain children to limitations.