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"Run & Jump": The Secret Life of the Irish Family 

Wednesday, Mar 5 2014

At last we have a proper if brief release for the feature debut of director Steph Green, a Bay Area native, who was in town with it for the San Francisco Irish Film Festival last year. Green's large-hearted drama seems all the more appealing for its lack of fanfare. With an in-house American neuropsychologist observing for a case study, an Irish housewife grasps at family coherence in the wake of her husband's stroke. Fortunately for her, she's played by Maxine Peake with a tasteful medley of allure and fortitude. As a movie heroine, Peake is very charming: As a coping wife, a harried mom, an actual woman, she's plausible. The doctor is played by a hangdog, sweater-vested Will Forte, wearing one of those beards that Robin Williams used to put on as a way of saying, "I'm going to be serious now." And it's true that between this and Nebraska, Forte has quietly enlarged the scope of what we might expect from him. Save for its efflorescence of color, apparently calibrated to coordinate with the cool blue ocean and Peake's orange blaze of hair, this is a muted movie, which respectfully avoids not just histrionic drama but also cheap laughs as an easy antidote thereto. That restraint, it should be said, is double-edged — sometimes a relief, but sometimes a tease. Ailbhe Keogan's script emphasizes a warm-fuzzy idea about elastic human intuition trumping scientific rigidity, and that could seem reductive if Green and her performers didn't so touchingly bear it out.

About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.


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