Run & Jump ***Dir: Steph Green. With: Maxine Peake, Edward MacLiam, Will Forte. 106 mins. Cert: 15
This Irish-set feature debut from US-born director Steph Green is heartfelt and noteworthy in putting on screen a stroke sufferer – Edward MacLiam’s Conor – who isn’t drooling or wheelchair-bound, but a hyperactive soul, trapped within challenging behavioural patterns. What’s around him is undoubtedly melodramatic: Conor’s wife Venetia (Maxine Peake) is torn between upholding her wedding vows and a growing attraction to Ted (Will Forte), the American neurobiologist who’s become a default father to her children. It’s also prone to debutant missteps, chiefly an overreliance on picturesque montages, offered as mitigation against anything more upsetting. Yet it’s persuasive in its quieter, observational stretches, as when Green trusts a series of mealtime looks and glances to convey the faultlines opening up in this household. Peake, warmly sketching a woman busy fooling herself everything will work out, and Forte, every bit as precise as he was in Nebraska, keep it honest, and within touching distance of genuine poignancy.
Run & Jump opens in selected cinemas from today.