A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Run is a thriller about an abusive mother who has been making her child sick and the attempts of the teen trying to escape. The film is dark, suspenseful, and has moments of emotional and physical terror and violence. Diane, a child abuser with Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another, formerly Munchausen syndrome by proxy, hides a tragic past. She entraps, forcefully drugs, and threatens to kill her daughter Chloe. With a syringe and needle Diane knocks out a mailman and later kills him, dragging his body across the hallway floor, which leaves a trail of blood. Chloe tries to escape Diane and various dire situations. Chloe gets locked in bedrooms, chained to a wall, chased a lot, hurt when tumbling down stairs, forcefully drugged multiple times, threatened, and kidnapped; all these scenes can be scary. Diane sometimes suddenly appears in the background or in the dark. Adults drink wine. Language includes "goddamn" and an implied "motherf----r."
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In RUN, 17-year-old Chloe (Kiera Allen) lives a solitary life except for her mother Diane (Sarah Paulson), who tends to her daughter's every medical need and has done so for her entire life. Chloe supposedly suffers from arrhythmia, hemochromatosis, asthma, diabetes, and paralysis of her legs, the latter of which has required her to be in a wheelchair for as long as she can remember. The only problem is that Chloe starts to realize some oddities about the care her mother provides. Chloe's extremely limited freedoms are odd, the way her mother always gets to the mail before Chloe is odd, the way the Wi-Fi doesn't work when her mother isn't home is odd. Some of the medicine her mother gives her isn't what it seems. If Chloe had to escape her mother, how exactly could she manage that? What lengths would her mother go to stop her?
Is it any good?
Not a deep look into the behavioral and mental health complexities and nuances of Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another, this thriller only wants to thrill, and it just about does. In terms of quality, pace, writing, acting, and thrills, Run is on par with and sometimes exceeds director Aneesh Chaganty's first feature, the chillingly disturbing Searching. For Run, Chaganty structures his focus on child abuse and parental derangement in three acts: family horror, hostage drama, escape thriller. By the time the pace ramps up entering the finale, lead character Chloe has more than earned her freedom. Run is a platform for two great performances, one a terribly menacing desperate mother from Sarah Paulson and the other a courageous first-time lead achievement for Kiera Allen, who is also a wheelchair user in real life.
In some other ways, by the time the epilogue rolls, some viewers may find some logical gaps and inconsistencies, even if parsing them out would have only likely bogged things down. There's a distinct lack of any scenes of Chloe's childhood or growing up alone with no friends, television, public life outside visiting the pharmacy, or grander curiosity about the outside world. Somehow, Chloe made it all the way to 17 before really questioning or seeing the horrible things her mother was doing. Lastly, the film's ending may leave some viewers disappointed.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Run portrays Factitious Disorder Imposed on Another (Munchausen syndrome by proxy). How is it different from other films or tv shows that also feature this form of child and sometimes elder abuse?
Sadly, many people lose a child, but what was different about Diane's loss that made her turn to kidnapping, abuse, and murder?
Was the portrayal of Chloe a strong one? If you were in her situation, would you have done anything differently? If so, what?
Do you think Chloe's last act at the end was necessary? How would the film have looked if she had done something else?
Why do you think people are interested in tragic stories based on real life? Does Run glamorize any part of the abusive caregiver? Does it glamorize any part of the person under their care? Explain.
- On DVD or streaming: November 20, 2020
- Cast: Sarah Paulson, Kiera Allen, Pat Healy, Sara Sohn
- Director: Aneesh Chaganty
- Studio: Hulu
- Genre: Thriller
- Character strengths: Courage, Perseverance
- Run time: 90 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: Disturbing thematic content, some violence/terror, and language.
- Last updated: May 15, 2021
Our editors recommend
For kids who love thrills
Find more movies that help kids build character.
Top advice and articles
Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
Streaming options powered by JustWatch