On this episode of the podcast, we dig into how the film Run Woman Run explores coming of age in your thirties through an Indigenous perspective.
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Content warning: This episode discusses suicide
This episode features Editor-in-Chief Alex Heeney, Executive Editor Orla Smith, and Contributing Editor Lindsay Pugh
Run Woman Run (Zoe Leigh Hopkins, 2021)
On a shoestring budget, Zoe Leigh Hopkins’s Run Woman Run (which we discuss on the podcast)is a feel-good film about learning to care for yourself in the wake of tragedy and trauma. Set in the Six Nations in Ontario, Beck (Dakota Ray Hebert) is a thirtysomething single mother who lives with her father and shares a bedroom with her pre-pubescent son, Eric (Sladen Peltier). When she gets diagnosed with diabetes, she has enormous trouble making lifestyle changes (taking medication, improving her diet, and starting to exercise) because she’s gotten so used to putting herself last, ever since her mother died by suicide. There was her father (Lorne Cardinal), sister, and son to care for.
Fortunately, visits from the encouraging and amusing spirit of a champion Indigenous runner and Residential ‘School’ Survivor, Tom (Asivak Koostachin), help give her the support and confidence she needs to take care of herself — if not for herself, at first, then for the people she loves. Along the way, she finds the possibility of romance with the son of her father’s ex-girlfriend, Jon (Braeden Clarke), but it’s her son that keeps her going. This quarter-life coming-of-ager is warm and funny with a light touch, but you can also expect to bawl your eyes out if you’ve ever treated yourself with as little care as Beck does and for good reason. Though the trauma of residential ‘schools’, language loss, and suicide are all in the backdrop of the film, they never overtake the film’s relatively light tone.
On The Podcast: Run Woman Run
On this episode of the podcast, we discuss Run Woman Run and discuss its place in the canon among films about women coming of age at 30+ and films by and about Indigenous Peoples made in Canada.
- Coming of age in their 30s episodes (1:42)
- Run Woman Run (5:16)
- How the film depicts trauma (13:43)
- Asivak Koostachin as the spirit of Tom Longboat (19:00)
- The anti-romcom (24:02)
- Land depiction (34:37)
- Health and “tough love” (37:06)
- Why Run Woman Run should have been longer (1:00:13)
- What settler critics often miss (1:15:34)
- Conclusion (1:18:16)
- Read Alex’s review of Run Woman Run
- Read Orla’s interview with Kímmapiiyipitssini: The Meaning of Empathy director Elle-Máijá Tailfeathers
- Read Laura Anne Harris’ interview with The Road Forward director Marie Clements
- Read Alex’s interview with Monkey Beach director Loretta Todd
- Read Alex’s interview with Blood Quantum director Jeff Barnaby
- Read our list of the best Canadian films of 2021, including Night Raiders, Bootlegger, Red Snow, and Kímmapiiyipitssini
- Pre-order Existential detours: Joachim Trier’s cinema of indecisions and revisions, the first book to ever be published on Joachim Trier.
- Stay tuned for Orla’s interview with director Zoe Leigh Hopkins
Related podcast episodes to Run Woman Run
- Ep. 89: Spinster and The Forty-Year-Old Version: Coming of age at forty
- Ep. 63: Indigenous YA, part 2
- Ep. 62: Indigenous YA, part 1
- Ep. 54: I Used to Go Here and Unexpected: Kris Rey’s thirtysomethings