Run Woman Run is charming and inspirational in a way few films are able to pull off. The simple story is a meaningful meditation on living one’s life to the fullest. Playing the lead role of Beck, Dakota Ray Hebert plays a relatable, somewhat lazy single mother. After the death of her own mom, Beck devolves into an unhealthy lifestyle that culminates in a diabetes diagnosis. Run Woman Run almost immediately thrusts us into the horrible circumstances by which Beck discovers her diagnosis—passing out into a diabetic coma.
It takes hitting rock bottom for Beck to realize she needs a massive change in her day-to-day. Sharing similar symptoms to her own mother before her passing, this new diagnosis could spell certain doom. However, Beck continues to function in a blissful ignorance of her pressing medical condition. She pretends to start doing a copious amount of daily exercise for those around her, including trampolining. One day, a mysterious cute jogger begins to appear to Beck. He urges her to take up running—“it’s in your blood.” Beck’s son, Eric (Sladen Peltier), happens to be doing a school project on Boston Marathon winner Tom Longboat, a Canadian sports legend from the early 1900s, and it immediately clicks into place: Tom was the jogger Beck saw!
It turns out that Beck’s family is distantly related to Longboat, developing an obvious and poignant link between him and Beck. With Tom’s help, Beck finds new purpose in life. She channels motivations in touching ways. Beck’s deep love for her family and Mohawk people fuels her every move. The chemistry sizzles between long-dead Tom and Beck. While at first I found the movie to be unfocused and a little slow, from the second Longboat is onscreen against Beck, it takes off exponentially.
Tackling the topics of inherited trauma and unresolved grief, Run Woman Run is deeper than one would first assume. In a weird way, Run Woman Run is something of a romantic dramedy, even though the romance is really with oneself. As an adorable depiction of the real-life Tom Longboat, actor Asivak Koostachin utilizes his charms to bring out the best in Beck’s character. I really enjoyed this movie overall. There is clearly a majorly untapped space for Indigenous filmmakers with exciting stories to tell. One can only hope Run Woman Run carves out further opportunities for its talented cast and crew.
Run Woman Run runs for honor when it premieres theatrically on Friday, March 25th.