Run (2020): How It Explores the ‘Obsession’ subgenre

Diane and Chloe in Run (2020)
Sarah Paulson (right) and Kiera Allen (left) in Run (2020)

Aneesh Chaganty’s Run (2020) is an American psychological thriller movie. The story is penned by him and Sev Ohanian. It was first released on November 20, 2020, by Hulu and got a worldwide release on April 2, 2021, by Netflix. The movie acquired positive reviews for its gripping storyline, power-packed performance, unexpected twist, and expertly curated tension, along with a great ending. To what extent an obsessed mother can go for companionship from her supposed child is the heart of this movie. Under the realm of parenting, Run highlights aspects of control in the guise of ‘caregiving,’ and isolation in the guise of’ ‘protection’. It also delves into the psychology behind continuous suffocation and manipulation in the guise of ‘wanting the best for the child.’ Therefore, in this film, the line between selflessness and selfishness gets increasingly murky.

Run has a show-time of 1 hour and 30 minutes the whole of which is likely to keep viewers on the edge of their seats. The cast includes Sarah Paulson as Diane Sherman, Kiera Allen as Chloe Sherman, Pat Healy as Mailman Tom, Sara Sohn as Nurse Kammy, Sharon Bajer as Kathy Bates, and Tony Revolori as Brooklyn Boy. The film is about Chloe Sherman, a disabled teenager in a wheelchair who lives with her mother. Chloe’s overprotective parent, Diane, keeps her away from the world, locked inside her home. However, the disabled and physically ill daughter soon starts suspecting her mother that she is hiding something dark and mysterious from her. As the title suggests,

‘Run’ indicates ‘escape,’ to flee from a possibly dangerous situation.

The movie poses this basic instinct with how complicated and tough it would be for a daughter to escape from deadly claws when it’s her mother.

Critical Aspects of Run (2020)

Sarah Paulson expectedly aces the chilling role of a controlling mother whose insanity has been undercover for years. Her obsession with having a child, a companion who she can depend on has turned into a sadistic emotion. Her selfishness and will to “look after” her daughter has surpassed all moral and ethical boundaries. Paulson‘s facial expressions, the fear in her eyes of losing a child again, and her desperate actions create a fearsome impact. In no time her character changes from being a protective, caring mother to a desperate, dangerous maniac. Shocked over the loss of her child, she steals someone else’s baby. Paulson is one actress who has been (or wilfully remained) surprisingly sidelined in Hollywood fame despite being one of the finest, most dependable performers there is.

Besides that,

She keeps Chloe handicapped through medications and destroys all potential possibilities of her brighter future. Diane Sherman has a very twisted concept of love for her child. She homeschooled Chloe, destroyed all her university admission letters, kept her away from phones and the internet. Furthermore, she sedated Chloe when she discovered the truth, chained her in the bedroom, and permanently made her a disabled person, all in the name of love and protection.

When Diane secretly takes Chloe out from the hospital in the movie Run (2020).
A Still from Run

Kiera Allen too does a great job of portraying a challenging role that requires a lot of physical and emotional exertion and hard work. Chloe is an intelligent daughter who has her own dreams and is struggling to recover from a host of health problems: diabetes, asthma, and lower-body paralysis. She is eager to explore the world and leave her home since she has always lived in isolation. The moment she discovers something fishy, she leaves no stones unturned to investigate her supposed mother. Furthermore, her spirit to rebel and fight till the end is what makes her a strong counterpoint to Paulson’s character. This collision is what makes Run (2020) such an interesting watch.


Diane is portrayed as a psychotic single mother who definitely doesn’t know what’s best for her child even though she is certain she does. Diane justifying all her actions to herself is the scariest aspect of the film. Yet there’s also a level of understanding and morose sympathy for her – and for her perspective on the world. On the other hand, audiences can definitely feel Chloe’s panic and helplessness. Her search for the truth begins by stumbling randomly on a bottle of pills. She finds it suspicious as it is labeled in her mother’s name while it was supposedly her medicine. The movie ends on a curiously dark note. After seventeen years, Chloe treats Diane in the same way as she did to her, ages before.

Diane in a hospital in the movie Run (2020).
Still from Run

This film is the first thriller in 70 years to feature an actual wheelchair user: Kiera Allen. Run (2020) is rightly labeled as breath-taking, tense, suspenseful, and gripping till the end. However, even if viewers are able to sense where the semi-familiar plot is heading, they are unlikely to lose interest. The excitement escalates quickly. Most importantly, it is Sarah Paulson’s and Kiera Allen’s performances that truly elevate the movie to a different level. This film offers much more than meets the eye. An engrossing watch – for sure.

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