Will Forte follows up his strong dramatic turn in Nebraska with an even better performance in what turns out to be a better movie with Run & Jump. Forte plays Ted, an American doctor in Ireland studying Conor (Edward MacLiam) a relatively young stroke patient returning to his family after being in a coma. The stroke has rendered Conor childlike, with most of his motor skills intact but little memory of the man he was before. Ted lives with him and his family, videotaping Conor in his interactions with his spirited wife, Vanetia, played winningly by Maxine Peake. Conor’s state has left him relatively useless as a father figure, husband and lover. His two kids are left confused, while Vanetia does her best to remain upbeat and good-natured. Slowly, Ted begins to step in as a friend to Vanetia and a father figure to the children. Much credit goes to director and co-writer Steph Green for making this tough plot work. Ted remains a highly sympathetic character, rather than some selfish jerk who is moving in on an emotionally incapacitated stroke victim’s wife and family. The movie has touches of wonderful humor and weirdness to go with its justifiable sadness. Peake’s performance is a stunner as she traverses easily from humor to the tragic. Forte accomplishes much with his expressions. He has nice control over that face of his, and many of his best moments consist of him just standing and staring, with everything being conveyed in the eyes. He’s proving to be one of the more reliable SNL alumni.
Director: Steph Green
Producer: Tamara Anghie, Martina Niland, David Collins, Matthias Esche and Jan Kaiser
Cast: Maxine Peake, Will Forte, Edward MacLiam, Sharon Horgan, Brendan Morris, Ciara Gallagher, Clare Barrett, Michael Harding, Kelby Guilfoyle and Ri Galway