Film reviews: Drinkwater, Tzoulahem, and Run Woman Run shine at Whistler Film Festival

Featuring an unwaveringly solid exclusively Indigenous cast, Run Woman Run centres on the aftermath of Beck’s wake-up call: the young single mom with a sweet tooth is diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, the same disease that took her own mother far too soon.

She lives in Six Nations of the Grand River—the most populous reserve in Canada in present-day southern Ontario, where the entire film was shot—sharing a home with her mild-mannered, good-hearted dad (Lorne Cardinal) and high-achieving sister (Jayli Wolf), who are constantly at her to take better care of her health. It’s only when Beck encounters the spirit of Tom Longboat—a real-life Onondaga running legend from the early 1900s, played by Asivak Koostachin—that things start to change. Buoyed by his encouragement and wise words, she begins training for a marathon, dedicating each of her outings to a different person in her life, while her parallel inner journey gets to the heart of why she’s so down, what she holds dear, and how she’s worthy of love—especially from herself.

Vulnerable and self-effacing, Beck is more complex than she at first seems, Hebert making her likeable and relatable. A heart-warming and engaging film with cinematography by Justin Black and music by composer Anthony William Wallace, Hopkins strikes just the right tone with her balance of levity and emotion, all while weaving in cultural practices, conveying the importance of saving the Mohawk language that colonialism nearly wiped away, and introducing viewers to Longboat (who was inducted into Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1955). Featuring music by composer , the film is gorgeously shot by cinematographer Now if only we could find out where the crew sourced that pepperoni-print housecoat. GJ