See Girl Run
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Here’s an affable twist on an old saw. A woman goes back to her hometown to hook up with an old flame, hoping the rekindling of their teenage romance will bring some heat and passion to a life that’s gone cold and stale. But they spend almost the entirety of the movie apart until we realize this film is about the possibility of their reconnection rather than the actual thing.
“See Girl Run” was written and directed by Nate Meyer, who has a keen eye for observational portraits of characters. There’s not a lot of narrative momentum here, but there isn’t supposed to be. This is not a film about watching people doing things as it is seeing who they are.
Robin Tunney plays Emmie, who runs a successful dog-walking business in Brooklyn and is married to Graham (Josh Hamilton), a nice business type. But she carries a major torch for Jason, her old high school flame, and on a whim decides to alight back to Portland, Maine to see him.
“I always thought I’d end up with someone who’d make the world seem bigger,” she says, in deciding to run back to Jason.
But not, she decides, until she’s ready. This takes us up to the point where Jason has become aware that Emmie is back in town and grows puzzled why she hasn’t come to see him.
Isn’t that their destiny? They both seem certain of it yet can’t bring themselves to act to make it happen.
Adam Scott plays Jason, who calls himself an artist but whose only paying vocation is as a waiter at a touristy seafood joint called the Porthole, where he’s the best there is at singing cheesy birthday songs to patrons wearing a felt lobster on their head. Jason isn’t bothered by his day job, as long as he has time to devote to his painting — which consists almost entirely of anthropomorphic frogs.
“I’m taking a lifetime to become an overnight success,” he says. He means it as a joke, but, really, Jason is utterly convinced that one day he’ll break through as an artist. In the same way, he is absolutely certain that one day Emmie will come back for him.
Jeremy Strong has a good turn as Emmie’s brother, Brandon, who’s mired in a swamp of alcoholism and depression that even he struggles to fathom. He’s brought back to live with their parents, played by William Sadler and Maureen Butler in spot-on depictions of romance that has settled into stability. Dad takes Brandon to a strip club ostensibly to cheer him up but mostly in apparent anticipation of the argument this will evoke with his wife.
Things sort of go sideways, and Emmie and Jason’s reuniting keeps getting pushed further and further back. How can something that seems so fated to be get lost in the shuffle? “See Girl Run” is a thought-provoking look at how the things that distract us from our goals end up becoming that which defines us.