Saturday, September 25, 2021

Run Woman Run: Movie Review

An enjoyable journey of love, family and language.

In Run Woman Run, Beck (Dakota Ray Hebert) is a 30-something single mother who shares a room with her 10-year-old son and shares a house with her sister, her father and his girlfriend. Beck spends her days in her housecoat, smoking in bed, insulting her family members and driving her car to the mailbox and back as her form of exercise.   2021

Directed by: Zoe Leigh Hopkins

Screenplay by: Zoe Leigh Hopkins

Starring: Dakota Ray Hebert

It’s a romantic comedy that is not about romance but making better life choices. Beck’s need to make better choices was obvious before she ended up in a diabetic coma, and now it’s more pressing. But Beck has no intention of changing her ways, she just as to lie about it now.

This is an independent Canadian indigenous film and it takes a while to get going in the beginning. It’s clear that it has a very limited production budget. However, the film’s balancing act of comedy and drama and Beck’s acerbic tone won me over quickly. There are multiple themes guiding Beck from her life of self-loathing into a more fulfilling healthier life, and they were all introduced quickly, and the film very effectively cuts right into the heart of the matter.

Beck’s sister thinks she needs to start exercising, so on one of her daily drives to the mailbox, Beck sees a strange person she doesn’t know – a new neighbour? A ghost? An hallucination? The answer comes fast and as no surprise and is able to be used as comedy throughout the film. Beck also meets a new man -- a would-be love interest, except very smartly this movie isn’t about romance. Jon (Braeden Clarke) is just a diversion – a very welcome, handsome, funny and romantic diversion – on Beck’s journey of self-discovery. It’s really not about him.

The other themes are played more dramatically, but include how Beck has dealt with her mother’s death, how her son views her life choices, and primarily learning the language of their history to better communicate who they are now, or who they should be as people.

It takes Beck quite awhile to be convinced that she actually should start making better choices – and there’s a lot of comedy along the way. Including fake exercising while wearing her housecoat on a trampoline, discussions with an imaginary person in a clothing store, and a not-a-date at a meat auction. It takes place on a reservation in Six Nations, Canada and paints a nice image of the community aspect of res life.

Run Woman Run is a cinematic sibling of Brittany Runs a Marathon and Last Christmas, except with a more indie spirit. The indigenous roots of the film and use of the Mohawk language elevate it into something more serious, but there’s a lot of enjoyable comedy to balance it out.

One of the Best of 2022