To mourn the loss of a loved one after they’ve passed away or separated themselves from your life is one thing, but to feel the absence of someone still strongly in your presence is both an almost unimaginable and harrowing sorrow to endure. And in director Steph Green’s feature debut Run & Jump, she explores the aftermath of a family whose young father returns home, as if a stranger, after recovering from a stroke.
Set amongst the juxtaposition of pastel colored homes and grey skies of Ireland, Run & Jump follows a beautifully optimistic and lively matriarch of her family, Vanecia who is not only forced to deal with the sudden change in her family while her husband Conor attempts to readjust to their lives, but the external force of American neuropsychologist Ted Fielding, who has come to stay with them in order to observe Conor for a case study. Featuring a fantastic performance from Will Forte (Fielding) in his first dramatic role, he stars along the wonderful Maxine Peake to deliver a film that’s both genuine and tender.
As the follow-up to Green’s 2010 Oscar-nominated short film New Boy, Green co-wrote the script with Ailbhe Keogan, and it was developed further at Sundance Institute’s Screenwriters Lab and the Berlinale Script Station. As in intimate family drama, Green takes on the weightiest of subjects and delivers them with a unique sense of lightness— filled with melancholy and strong emotion, but never diverting from its hopeful spirit. She gives us a refreshing look at the love we possess and that which possesses us, and the sacrifices we make to keep our world intact—offering part familial drama, part case study, part women’s tale, and part unconventional love story that slowly winds us into its emotional hold until the final release.