Starring Sophie Desmarais and Jean-Sebastien Courchesne
Chloé Robichaud’s SARAH PREFERS TO RUN tells the story of Sarah (Sophie Desmarais), a young, French-Canadian woman, who loves nothing more in life than running track. Sarah has been the star of her school’s track team throughout her years in high school, and now wants to join McGill University’s prestigious team so that she con continue to pursue her passion. And so, along with her friend Antoine (Jean-Sébastien Courchesne), Sarah moves to Montreal to attend McGill. Though platonic at first, the relationship between Sarah and Antoine naturally becomes complicated after he convinces her to marry him in order to get a government bursary, provided to young married students. As marriage and other obstacles begin to slow Sarah down, she begins to question her choices.
SARAH PREFERS TO RUN is an incredibly subtle film, which is its strongest asset. Sarah is very closed off, so like the people around her, the viewer may have trouble understanding what she is thinking and how she is feeling. All the same, there are many hints. It is very important to pay attention to Sarah’s reactions, the things shown in the frame, and the few things that Sarah says. In doing so, the viewer will understand that Sarah is not only struggling with a possible heart condition, but also with her sexual feelings for women, and her ability to relate to others. The downside here is that the less involved filmgoer may feel as though there isn’t much is happening at times. If you are one to look closer for deeper meanings in the film though, you will most definitely find plenty to enjoy in this unique run around the track.
SARAH PREFERS TO RUN screens this week at TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto as part of TIFF’s Canadian Top 10 series.