WFF ’21 Review: ‘Run Woman Run’ is a lovely story of rediscovering self-worth

Grief affects everyone differently. Some of us find resolve, some not so much—some of us the latter, then the former. Run Woman Run is a story of grief about one woman’s journey to put herself back together after a loss.

The film opens on Beck (Dakota Ray Hebert), asleep in bed. Once she wakes up, she goes about her morning routine: driving the 20 meters to the mailbox. Then, going for coffee, five creams and five sugars, and four Boston cream doughnuts. Beck is not in a good way and hasn’t been since her mother passed away. Her family try to be understanding, but you can only do so much with someone who is this unengaged.

Once she hits bottom, she is visited by the spirit of Tom Longboat (Asivak Koostachin), a turn of the century indigenous runner and Canadian sports hero who won the 1907 Boston Marathon in record time. Through running, she begins to turn her life around.

There are some well-worn plots points here, but the tale being told from an indigenous perspective gives it a life that previous films like this have not had. Dakota Ray Hebert is low key wonderful as Beck; her performance captures that denial and malaise that can take over your life in these situations, but also in the third act when she begins to turn things around, there’s a genuine hopefulness that comes across with great sincerity –which is all the more impressive when you consider this is only her third credited performance.

Koostachin (seen earlier this year in Portraits from a Fire) gives another solid performance as Tom Longboat as well. He strikes a nice balance of thoughtful and funny, but always compassionate, that works in contrast and compliment to Hebert as Beck.

So while there are some plot points you might see coming, this is very much a case of the journey being the point. It’s a lovely story about a woman learning to believe in herself again, and anyone who has been through a significant loss will see a piece of themselves in the central character.

Rating: 3/5

Run Woman Run is playing as part of the 2021 Whistler Film Festival and will be available online from December 18th until December 31st.

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