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Parents' Guide to

The Runner

By Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Unsympathetic teens in slick, vacant drug-centric drama.

Movie R 2022 104 minutes
The Runner Movie: Poster

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Surface-level, slick, and vacant, this drug-centric teen drama deals in spoiled, unlikable characters. As a result, it can't generate any suspense or emotions with its by-the-numbers drug bust story. None of the characters in The Runner really work, but Aiden is the most troubling. Although Philipponnat throws himself into the role, Aiden is problematic on the page. He spends much of the movie looking anguished and weeping. His dark past involved him giving his former girlfriend synthetic drugs, causing a seizure and doing her irreparable harm. That, plus his lying to his friends and arguing with his mom, in addition to his rampant drinking and drug use, as well as his wealth and privilege, all make him deeply unsympathetic.

Even more perplexing is his relationship with Detective Wall. Half the time, the detective is slapping him and calling him a "punk"; the other half, he's cradling the sobbing boy in his arms and calling him "son." Using these and other empty characters to build up to the climactic party leaves everything feeling flat, even inorganic. There's a stop-and-start quality as all other characters are forced to wait for Aiden before they can jump in, and certain plot elements are left hanging. But the irritating, seemingly ambiguous ending is the worst part, leaving viewers even more aggravated than ever. Certainly there can be good, truthful stories about troubled upper-class White teens, but The Runner is as misguided as they come.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: August 19, 2022
  • On DVD or streaming: August 23, 2022
  • Cast: Edouard Philipponnat , Cameron Douglas , Nadji Jeter
  • Director: Michelle Danner
  • Inclusion Information: Female directors, Black actors
  • Studio: Saban Films
  • Genre: Drama
  • Run time: 104 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: strong teen drug and alcohol use, pervasive language and some violence
  • Last updated: June 19, 2023

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