Run Sweetheart Run Parent Guide
The strong message might be timely but it overpowers the plot and begins to drag in the third act.
Parent Movie Review
Single mom Cherie (Ella Balinska) works as a legal secretary while attending night school in the hopes of becoming a lawyer. After a schedule mix up, Cherie’s boss (Clark Gregg) asks her to attend a business dinner with an important client in his stead. The client, Ethan (Pilou Asbaek) turns out to be incredibly charming and charismatic, so Cherie agrees to stay out with him for more than just dinner. When they go back to his place, Ethan reveals his true, violent nature. Barely escaping his attack, Cherie sets out for help, but discovers that she’s running from something far worse than she thought.
Run Sweetheart Run is designed, first and foremost, an allegory for the patriarchy and the dangers facing women. Some parts of this allegory are done better than others. One of the most effective aspects is the apathy that Cherie faces as she’s running down the street, covered in blood, screaming for help. People accuse her of being drunk, ignore her, and refuse to help her. The people who do help her, some more effectively than others, are often those who have faced similar situations. The film also focuses on institutions such as the legal system and the police which are not only complicit, but actively participate in upholding the patriarchal structures that imperil Cherie’s life.
Unfortunately, the allegory falls apart in other areas. Some aspects are just too on the nose, making the film come across as preachy in places. The third act falls into some unearned “girlboss” moments with random, unnamed women. Cherie also gets saved by men a few too many times to be a coincidence. The patriarchy and rape culture are such huge topics that it’s hard to cover them in a 90-odd minute movie effectively. It takes an extremely deft hand to write a script that can balance the metaphor with the horror and supernatural aspects of the story, and that skill is missing here.
Although in need of some script tightening, many other elements of the production are outstanding. The acting, especially from Balinska and Asbaek, is phenomenal. There are some interesting directing choices, which feel almost Tarantino-like in places. My favorite is when Ethan shows his true side and breaks the fourth wall by stopping the camera from following him inside the house. It’s a fantastic way to show the turn, and also to give an excuse for the initial attack to happen off screen. I am less a fan of the “Run” title cards that show up a few times, and which feel tonally dissonant.
As a horror thriller, you can imagine that there is a lot of negative content, particularly violence. Putting that all aside, I’m torn on this movie. On the one hand, it is well made, superbly acted, and comments intelligently on a critically important subject. On the other, the allegory is clumsy and becomes preachy and cheesy in places, undermining the core themes. I was engaged and in suspense through the first two acts but started to lose my interest in the much weaker third act. If you’re a fan of thrillers and horror (and have no issues with Restricted-level swearing, nudity, and violence), Run Sweetheart Run is not a bad choice, it just could be so much better. For everyone else, including me, give it a pass.Directed by Shana Feste. Starring Ella Balinska, Pilou Asbæk, Clark Gregg. Running time: 98 minutes. Theatrical release October 28, 2022. Updated January 12, 2024
Run Sweetheart Run
Rating & Content Info
Why is Run Sweetheart Run rated R? Run Sweetheart Run is rated R by the MPAA for horror violence, bloody images, language, sexual references and brief nudity.
Violence: There are acts of violence throughout, though some is off screen. A woman is attacked by a man multiple times, with visible injuries. Blood is a main plot point. Dead bodies are seen. A man is hit by a car. A group of characters are in a violent car crash. A man’s head is bit off by a monster. A character is burned to death.
Sexual Content: There is some sexual innuendo. An adult couple kiss. Some women are seen topless in a non-sexual context.
Profanity: The script contains over 35 extreme expletives, 20+ mild and moderate expletives, and 17 terms of deity.
Alcohol / Drug Use: There is some adult social drinking.
Page last updated January 12, 2024
Run Sweetheart Run Parents' Guide
What does Cherie encounter when she tries to get help? What do the police do? How is this reflected in real life?