Sarah Prefers to Run, Chloé Robichaud’s first feature, is a subtle but intriguing examination of the life of a quiet, somewhat introverted student, Sarah (Sophie Desmarais), as she makes the transition from high school to college.
As the title suggests, Sarah has a passion and aptitude for running. She is the star of her suburban high school track team and hopes to use that success to get her into college. However, her mother and step-father are not supportive, so she teams up with a work friend, Antoine (Jean-Sébastien Courchesne), so they can afford an apartment in Quebec. When her Antoine suggests they get married so they will be qualified to get aid, Sarah first resists but then the two get married.
The transition to college does not go smoothly. The track competition is stronger, tensions develop between Sarah and her in-name-only husband, and Sarah discovers she has a heart condition.
Desmarais is excellent as the taciturn Sarah, revealing so much through her body language and facial expressions. The filmmaking is solid if not exceptional. The ambiguous ending doesn’t quite work in this context but only detracts somewhat from an otherwise interesting film.
Using the festival’s scoring system, I ranked this Very Good or 4 out of a possible 5.
Check out all my 2013 Philadelphia Film Festival posts!