Director: Nate Meyer
Writer: Nate Meyer
Stars: Robin Tunney, Adam Scott, Jeremy Strong
Continuing in the realm of Netflix Instant discoveries, I chose the following film last week on a whim. Unfortunately, my random pick backfired and I was left disappointed in more ways than one. Disclosure: this review is somewhat of a rant. My apologies.
See Girl Run is the portrait of a woman—though more of a girl— at a critical moment in her life. Emmie, now in her mid-thirties, struggles with the notion of “what if” while stuck in a rather run-of-the-mill marriage. Tired of her routine and the minuscule disputes with her husband, Emmie flees her cozy apartment in Brooklyn and her job as a dog walker and returns home to Maine, to take care of some “unfinished business.” This business comes in the form of an old high school boyfriend, Jason, who has never given up on his undying love for Emmie, nor his dream of being a cartoonist.
Upon her return home, Emmie discovers that her brother is a clinically depressed alcoholic, who cries on cue in almost every scene, and ultimately left me questioning whether the writers of this film actually knew what depression was. The film very briefly alludes to the brother’s involvement in an abusive relationship before moving back in with his parents, though this gives the audience little reason to sympathize with his babbling, self-loathing nonsense.
About half-way through the film, I began to think that Emmie and Jason may never meet again. (Wasn’t their reunion the point of the film?) Frankly, this delay did not serve any purpose other than creating an almost irresistible urge to skip ahead to the end of the film. Rather than keeping me on the edge of my seat, the passing scenes left me fidgety and largely uninterested. The only distraction from my discontent was the attempted climax, when Emmie’s brother returns completely plastered after venturing out to a bar with Jason. We observe a family during a crisis, though the actual conflict feels strange and phony (if not laugh-worthy). The brother loudly boasts that he’s “not crying,” Jason tries to push his way into the house in search for Emmie, and Emmie cries alone in corner. At this point, Emmie’s brother drunkenly condemns her for expecting too much out of life (is the film now about happiness? or dreams versus reality? or is it still about the glow of first love?) I began to wonder if this film would ever resolve its ambitious number of conflicts.
The main turning point in the film does not arrive until about the final ten or so minutes, when Emmie must consider the possibility that the “what ifs” may be less significant than the life (and marriage) that she has already chosen. An impressive number of concise, unemotional scenes—including some beautiful transition shots of Emmie’s trek back to Brooklyn (probably one of the most noteworthy pieces of the film)—bring Emmie full-circle, leaving me oddly satisfied, though still largely confused. 89 minutes later, the agony was finally over.