Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Run & Jump [2013]

MPAA (UR would be PG-13) (3 Stars)  AVClub (B)  Fr. Dennis (4 Stars)

IMDb listing (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (K. Ryan) review

Run & Jump [2013] (directed and cowrtten by Steph Green as well as Aibhe Keogan) is a lovely little film that comes from Ireland that played recently at the 17th European Union Film Festival held at the Gene Siskel Film Center here in Chicago.

A young Irish Co. Kerry family is adjusting to a terribly random life-altering tragedy.  The film begins with
with still young, lovely, full-of-life mid-late 30-something Vanetia (played by Maxine Peake) driving over to a local rehab center in a small sea-side town to bring her similarly mid-late 30-something husband Conor (played by Edward MacLiam) home.  Conor had suffered a stroke (I told you it was a terribly random life-altering tragedy), spent a month in a coma hovering between life and death, and since waking-up the last four months in rehab.   Now still not completely "there" (and he may never be) he's going home.

When the two arrive home, their two kids as well as Conor's parents (visiting from nearby) are there.  Thirteen-fourteen year-old  Lenny (played by Brendan Morris) is clearly still shell shocked.  Younger, eight maybe nine year old Noni (played by Ciara Gallagher) is just happy to see her dad home again. 

Conor's parents are there to give support to their son and his family.  And they are not excited to hear that Vanetia, in part to help compensate for loss of income has decided to accept a rather disconcerting offer to have an American neurologist named Ted (played by William Forte) board with them for a number of months in order to study the extent of Conor's recovery. 

Conor's parents are not particularly excited because, money aside, Ted would be another man in the house, and they do know (as all know) that Conor's not doing well.  But if they had any fears (and perhaps Vanetia had any subconscious hopes), Ted, when he arrives is supremely polite and professional (as one would perhaps expect a well-adjusted American academic well-trained in the ethics of his trade).  But he finds himself in a small town at the very far edge of the Old World in the midst of a family that's been traumatized, a young wife who also still loves her husband but also is also is struggling with "what now" and it's raining all the time.  And though everybody is being very, very nice ... American Ted in his utterly non-judgemental, professional way, and the Irish traumatized family, "We just want to cry but we're going to be really, really nice about it" ... it's clear that this family didn't need a second guy lumbering around half in a coma.

And so it is.  What is mid-to-late 30-something Vanetia still honestly with so much of her life ahead of her but with 2 kids and a tragically half-zombie-like husband living at the edge of the world gonna do?   Well, rent the film it's already on Amazon Instant Video and probably elsewhere.

It is actually a very lovely and very, very human tale ... again told in the midst of rain (but then also in the midst of a lot of verdant green) and coming from a place where "the next parish west ... is in the United States" ;-)

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