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Film / Run

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Run is a 2020 psychological thriller directed by Aneesh Chaganty and starring Sarah Paulson and Kiera Allen (in her feature film debut) as mother and daughter Diane and Chloe Sherman.

Due to Chloe's numerous health problems making her all but home-bound, Diane home-schools her, and essentially controls every aspect of her life. Chloe begins to suspect things are not as they appear one day, though, when she discovers a refill of one of her medications actually has her mother's name on the bottle. Things go downhill from there.

Run is a Hulu Original, released on November 20th, 2020.

It also occupies a Shared Universe with other films produced by Chaganty, including Searching and Missing (2023)}.

Other than sharing a name, it bears no relationship to the YA Novel, the Video Game, the 1991 Patrick Dempsey film, or the 2020 TV Series.

Tropes included:

  • Abusive Offspring: A controversial aspect of the ending. Diane kidnapped and poisoned Chloe for around seventeen years so Chloe would never stop needing her. However, after Chloe manages to escape at the end, it jumps forward several years and reveals that Diane is in a prison hospital where Chloe visits her. It then ends with Chloe feeding Diane the same pills, which presumably have an equally horrific effect on her body and putting her in hospital.
  • Arc Words: "Open wide."
  • Artistic License – Medicine: Most of the medical elements of the plot are pretty free of this, but one of Chloe's blood glucose reading is so low that it would likely be accompanied by symptoms she shows no evidence of.
    • And, of course, there's "trigoxin" which is fictional but obviously intended to be reminiscent of digoxin, which is real.
  • A Taste of Their Own Medicine: In the end, seven years later Chloe visits Diane in prison and in response to everything she did to her, Chloe decides to force-feed Diane the same green pills she fed her with the last lines of the film being: "Now, open wide."
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Chloe establishes that she's married and has a daughter of her own in the epilogue.
  • Baby Be Mine: After the death of real Chloe, Diane kidnapped current Chloe as a baby and poisoned her.
  • Badass Bystander: When Chloe appeals to Tom for help, he manages to get her in the postal van and, despite some wavering, holds firm both when Diane threatens him.
  • Bait-and-Switch: We see Diane talking on the phone with the pharmacist explaining Chloe's medication-induced delusions, only for it to turn out that she's rehearsing.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Chloe manages to escape Diane's clutches, is married, has a child, and enjoys her employment helping children with prosthetic limbs. Some of her dialogue also indicates that she is reunited with her real parents. However, if the ending is anything to go by, the entire experience has left her traumatized to the point of inflicting the same pain and suffering on her 'mother'.
  • Bland-Name Product: Has a couple of interesting variations:
    • Tom's postal vehicle is clearly marked "United States Postal Service," but the logo is not the USPS eagle logo of 2020 or even an older version, it's a very stylized collection of lines that don't even resemble an eagle. Possibly they didn't want to risk trademark infringement by using the real logo.
    • Digoxin is actually the generic name of the real-life version of Chloe's heart medicine, so there's no trademark to be infringed upon, but giving it the in-universe version the name Trigoxin uses the audience's familiarity with common medications to communicate how powerful Chloe's pills are.
  • Blatant Lies: After separating Chloe from Tom, Diane tells her "He's sleeping." Given the huge trail of blood...
  • Chekhov's Gun: Averted, despite being very much present in Diane's first aid kit.
  • Death of a Child: It's what kicks off the movie's plot.
  • Death Is the Only Option: Chloe's solution to her second locked in the store cupboard situation. She gets better.
    • It's less this and more Chloe invoking Please, Don't Leave Me by way of a Batman Gambit. She knows her mother wants her trapped, but NOT dead, and will rush her to the hospital in an instant, thus getting her out of the house.
  • Determinator: Chloe drags herself over roofs, across floors and down stairs in her determination to escape. No matter how much it hurts, she keeps going.
  • Distant Prologue: The first scene shows newborn Chloe being worked on by multiple doctors, then in the NICU being visited by Diane, who asks if she will be okay. Fade to present.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: At one point while looking through colleges, you can see an image of the stock photo model used by fish_n_chips in one of the ads Chloe looks at, referencing the film Searching also directed by Aneesh Chaganty.
  • Freudian Excuse: A quick shot of Diane in the shower shows her back full of scars, suggesting that she herself suffered physical abuse, which may explain her mental state.
    • Chloe force feeding Diane the same pills she was forced to take suggest Chloe herself has some lasting mental scars from the years of abuse at the hands of Diane.
  • Foreshadowing: When Diane is on her Gmail account, one can see in the background that she has an unopened email from a Google Alert for something starting with the word "Baron-". As in her real name Diane Baronway, likely set up to see if she was being listed as a suspect for Chloe's abduction.
  • Genius Cripple: Chloe has a talent for science and electronics, as shown by some of the equipment she works on. She manages to escape from the house by climbing out her own bedroom window and breaking another by heating said window with a soldering iron, then quickly cooling it with a mouthful of water.
  • Handicapped Badass: Chloe can’t walk and has a number of ailments due to Diane drugging her. Nevertheless, she manages to escape and defeat Diane using her wit and as well as perform a number of impressive physical feats throughout the film.
  • Hope Spot: Tom the postal worker is about to rescue Chloe by driving her to the police station only to be stopped by Diane.
  • Instant Sedation: Diane hits Tom with one when she stabs him through the neck with her needle. Better than the alternative for Tom, maybe.
  • Locking MacGyver in the Store Cupboard: To be expected somewhat when you establish a character is something of a mechanical whiz. Happens twice, actually, though the second time it's much more Locking MacGyver in the Medicine Cabinet.
  • Münchausen's by Proxy: It revealed that Diane has been paralyzing Chloe by giving her dog medicine that keeps her from walking.
  • Nice Guy: Both the guy Chloe talks to on the phone and Tom the postal worker are this.
  • Non-Answer: Diane's go-to strategy for evading Armor-Piercing Questions.
  • Once More, with Clarity: A flashback after The Reveal again shows Diane in the NICU wondering if Chloe will be okay, with the question now answered for us.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Tom is put in a difficult spot when Chloe makes accusations and Diane makes counter-accusations, but comes up with a very reasonable solution. For all the good it does him.
  • The Reveal: The real Chloe died two hours after she was born, and the one we've been following was kidnapped as a baby by Diane.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When Chloe calls 411, the recording uses "Derry, Maine" as an example of a city and state. "Derry, Maine" is a location frequently used by Stephen King in his novels.
    • Also when Chloe is out for a movie with her mother, one of the stores is named "Carry", which is probably a reference to Stephen King's famous novel where a girl named Carrie is severely tormented by her mother.
    • Speaking of Stephen King: the pharmacist's name is revealed (over two scenes) to be Kathy Bates, who starred in Misery, based on a novel by King, which certainly shares thematic elements with this film.
    • Chloe's doctor is named Linda Qasabian, which is a two-fer: Linda Kasabian was a member of the Manson Family, and Natalie Qasabian is a producer of this film.
  • Soft Glass: Despite Chloe's absolutely brilliant method of breaking the window and having the foresight to bring the blanket, there's almost zero chance she could have crawled through it the way she did without getting some serious cuts.
  • Spotting the Thread: Chloe wants to snag some chocolates from the grocery bag without her mother knowing about it, and in the process sees a bottle full of one of her medications with her mother's name on the bottle instead of hers. This causes her to question more and more of the things she has taken for granted about her life to date, and ultimately turns her life completely upside down.
  • Staircase Tumble: Played very much for drama when Diane breaks the stairlift so she can trap Chloe upstairs, and Chloe throws herself down the stairs to escape.
  • Time Skip: In the end, the movie takes place seven years after Diane was shot by police officers where Chloe reveals to a bedridden Diane that she is now married with a child of her own and that she's not above revenge.
  • Uncertain Doom: Things don't look good for Tom as Diane "sedated" him and then dragged his unconscious body away from Chloe, leaving a trail of blood, but other than Diane being in prison, we don't know for sure what happened to him.
  • Viewer-Friendly Interface: Chloe's glucometer shows an actual blood sugar count in relatively small numbers but a much more viewer-friendly "Low" and "High" in two-inch-high letters.
  • Villainous Parental Instinct: After Chloe figured out the truth, Diane had her locked in the basement without her wheelchair and with no hope of getting out. Chloe thinks that Diane is going to kill her (and it's suggested that Diane is looking to further maim or disable Chloe with the injection). However, when Chloe swallows bleach, knowing that Diane will either let her die or save her, Diane is instinctively and immediately moved to save Chloe's life, taking her to the hospital, which eventually leads to her capture.
  • Visual Title Drop: The film opens with descriptions of the various health issues Chloe suffers from, with "Paralysis" the last one. The description explains that the condition leaves the sufferer unable to "walk or run," and the words fade to black, leaving "run" visible briefly on the screen by itself.
  • Wham Line: A couple, at least, but there are two that stand out:
    • The pharmacist's telling Chloe about "her" pills that Diane picks up "It's for your dog."
    • The final line of the film: "Now, open wide."
  • Wham Shot: The basement scene is chock full of this. But the strongest one is Chloe finds the real Chloe's death certificate. Also, there is a picture of 4-year-old Chloe running.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Tom, the postal worker who tried to rescue Chloe. He may have been injected with the same type of sedative Diane injected into Chloe earlier, so maybe he would wake up fine just like Chloe did. But, considering the blood trail his body leaves behind as it's dragged by Diane, things don't look good for him and he may very well be dead. It's not known what happened to him by the end of the film.