Sarah Paulson and Keira Allen play a mother and daughter who pit their wits against each 

other in an arena of self-delusion and disability.

Run (2020)

Love is the drug?: Keira Allen


Run is the last thing that Chloe Sherman can do. Confined to a wheelchair since birth, she suffers from arrhythmia, haemochromatosis, asthma, diabetes and paralysis. In short, Chloe relies totally on her mother, Diane (Sarah Paulson), who has put her life on hold in order to accommodate her child’s needs. And she runs a tight ship. Chloe’s alarm goes off at 6.45 and after she’s gone through her morning ritual of coughing up phlegm, applying cream to her sores, taking her medication and jabs, having her physiotherapy and exercises, it is time for breakfast and a rigorous schedule of school work. Chloe has applied to a number of colleges, and is determined to start a new life.


Run opens with a scene of visceral impact. We then jump forward in time where we find Diane at a parents’ home- schooling meeting. While many of her peers are suffering from the travails of their claustrophobia, Diane seems surprisingly upbeat. She responds, “How do I feel? I’ve been taking care of Chloe for 17 years, and in all that time I haven’t travelled, gone out or dated. And she’s going somewhere where she gets to do all of that – and more. So, yeah, I feel goddamn great.” Chloe has applied to the University of Washington and in spite of her physical handicaps, she has proved herself to be bright, focused and extraordinarily resourceful. As it turns out, she will need all of that – and then some…


It would be unfair to reveal much more, other than to say how refreshing it is to see a chamber piece dominated by two outstanding actresses. Fresh off her success in Netflix’s Ratched, Sarah Paulson, aged 46, is charging into the second phase of her career with all guns blazing. But perhaps even more remarkable is that her young co-star, Keira Allen, is making her film debut and is herself a wheelchair user. Following the debacle of Sia’s misguided Music, in which its severely autistic protagonist is played by the model and singer Maddie Ziegler, Run is a huge leap forward. Godzilla, too, gets a reference in the film, and the new Godzilla movie at least features a genuinely deaf actress as a deaf character. But Run is not about scoring PC Brownie points – it’s about taking the viewer on a genuinely involving journey.


Indeed, it’s so gratifying to see clever plotting, accomplished performances and astute direction lead an audience by the nose. Initially, there is a welcome lack of music, one moment proving all the more powerful for the lack of an intrusive violin or a plonk on the piano. No doubt Keira Allen’s disability added to the authenticity of the drama, but she’s a genuinely fine actress in her own right. The director Aneesh Chaganty and his writing partner Sev Ohanian proved their storytelling chops with the artful thriller Searching (2018), and whereas Run does, eventually, succumb to genre convention, the trip to the finishing line is a totally gripping, absorbing experience.




Cast: Sarah Paulson, Kiera Allen, Sara Sohn, Pat Healy, Sharon Bajer.


Dir Aneesh Chaganty, Pro Natalie Qasabian and Sev Ohanian, Screenplay Aneesh Chaganty and Sev Ohanian, Ph Hillary Fyffe Spera, Pro Des Jean-Andre Carriere, Ed Nick Johnson and Will Merrick, Music Torin Borrowdale, Costumes Heather Neale.


Lionsgate/Search Party-Netflix.

90 mins. USA. 2020. Rel: 2 April 2021. Available on Netflix. Cert. 15.