Running on Empty Reviews

  • Jan 23, 2021

    when i watch this movie, i get so sad because of the potential river phoenix had as an actor & really could've been such a force in the movie industry. also christine lahti does a nice job giving her character unexpected dimensions

    when i watch this movie, i get so sad because of the potential river phoenix had as an actor & really could've been such a force in the movie industry. also christine lahti does a nice job giving her character unexpected dimensions

  • Jul 12, 2020

    The story lived up to its name.

    The story lived up to its name.

  • Jun 07, 2020

    This is a loving and open family who unfortunately have the burden of ethics VS. The law as they've been avoiding to try and make the best out of their situation.
 We see and understand River Phoenix's predicament and we want him to come through and succeed at embracing life's enchanting qualities and opportunities without succumbing to the aforementioned family burden. 
Great acting, socially aware writing, and solid directing work from this picture. Check it out!

    This is a loving and open family who unfortunately have the burden of ethics VS. The law as they've been avoiding to try and make the best out of their situation.
 We see and understand River Phoenix's predicament and we want him to come through and succeed at embracing life's enchanting qualities and opportunities without succumbing to the aforementioned family burden. 
Great acting, socially aware writing, and solid directing work from this picture. Check it out!

  • Feb 08, 2020

    My favourite film and my favourite actor. I absolutely love it.

    My favourite film and my favourite actor. I absolutely love it.

  • Mar 22, 2019

    Running on Empty is the story of a family that is on the run because of things from the parents’ past. It shows the hard life that they lead, never forming long-term connections outside of the family, and always being prepared to run. It’s a tear-jerking drama that feels a little like an after-school special that I would have watched as a kid. What elevates it above those TV specials is the cast. Christine Lahti and Judd Hirsch are both great as the parents. They look and act like the type of people who might have been involved in war protests when they were younger. They make a convincing couple and you can feel the love they have for their children even when it is tough love. Martha Plimpton has never been my favorite actress, but I think I’ve always judged her from Goonies. Here she is sweet and likable as the main love interest. Then there’s the marvelous River Phoenix. He had a great talent for wordless acting. I am totally impressed by the amount of emotion I see in his performance even though he is playing a quiet brooding teen. There are some definite flaws in the script of Running on Empty. Some of the interactions with their old life feel like a pointless distraction. I understand if they want to increase the tension by making it feel like they could be caught at any moment. However, there was no need for us to meet L.M. Kit Carson in a scene that stops the entire movie in its tracks. That was the most blatant waste of time, when that time would have been more valuable building the bonds between the other characters. However, in this type of movie I measure the quality almost completely on whether I am engaging with it on an emotional level. If they expect me to cry and I’m laughing, then it failed. Luckily, I cried a few times. There are some heavy dramatic moments, and I had invested in these characters enough that I couldn’t contain my emotions and cried right along with them. It doesn’t help that they added a James Taylor song to it (that’s not even playing fair!) Running on Empty is a solid film that was effective at what it was trying to do, even if it had some flaws in the plot construction.

    Running on Empty is the story of a family that is on the run because of things from the parents’ past. It shows the hard life that they lead, never forming long-term connections outside of the family, and always being prepared to run. It’s a tear-jerking drama that feels a little like an after-school special that I would have watched as a kid. What elevates it above those TV specials is the cast. Christine Lahti and Judd Hirsch are both great as the parents. They look and act like the type of people who might have been involved in war protests when they were younger. They make a convincing couple and you can feel the love they have for their children even when it is tough love. Martha Plimpton has never been my favorite actress, but I think I’ve always judged her from Goonies. Here she is sweet and likable as the main love interest. Then there’s the marvelous River Phoenix. He had a great talent for wordless acting. I am totally impressed by the amount of emotion I see in his performance even though he is playing a quiet brooding teen. There are some definite flaws in the script of Running on Empty. Some of the interactions with their old life feel like a pointless distraction. I understand if they want to increase the tension by making it feel like they could be caught at any moment. However, there was no need for us to meet L.M. Kit Carson in a scene that stops the entire movie in its tracks. That was the most blatant waste of time, when that time would have been more valuable building the bonds between the other characters. However, in this type of movie I measure the quality almost completely on whether I am engaging with it on an emotional level. If they expect me to cry and I’m laughing, then it failed. Luckily, I cried a few times. There are some heavy dramatic moments, and I had invested in these characters enough that I couldn’t contain my emotions and cried right along with them. It doesn’t help that they added a James Taylor song to it (that’s not even playing fair!) Running on Empty is a solid film that was effective at what it was trying to do, even if it had some flaws in the plot construction.

  • Nov 13, 2018

    Sidney Lumet has done big films, but many of them remain pretty unheard of. This is not one of them - it was Oscar nominated and all, but in these years you don't hear much about this one. A family is hiding from everyone. FBI are after them, after they destroyed some old napalm supplies or something and a lost life got into the mix. The intention was good, but the result got them in the fed's scope. This represents a lot of the film - the intention and the consequences. The two kids are especially suffering as they not only changes looks, hair, clothing and names, but also schools and towns, making it hard to make real friends and roots. Amazing acting all over the line. A solid story that's touching and smart. It's good, but few big scenes. They act careful, but normal and there is little sneakyness here. Sensitive and touching film about a loving family that never can run away from the past. I guess it felt a bit dated or something. It's not a poor one, but I wanted a whole lot more to be honest. 7 out of 10 newspaper rip outs.

    Sidney Lumet has done big films, but many of them remain pretty unheard of. This is not one of them - it was Oscar nominated and all, but in these years you don't hear much about this one. A family is hiding from everyone. FBI are after them, after they destroyed some old napalm supplies or something and a lost life got into the mix. The intention was good, but the result got them in the fed's scope. This represents a lot of the film - the intention and the consequences. The two kids are especially suffering as they not only changes looks, hair, clothing and names, but also schools and towns, making it hard to make real friends and roots. Amazing acting all over the line. A solid story that's touching and smart. It's good, but few big scenes. They act careful, but normal and there is little sneakyness here. Sensitive and touching film about a loving family that never can run away from the past. I guess it felt a bit dated or something. It's not a poor one, but I wanted a whole lot more to be honest. 7 out of 10 newspaper rip outs.

  • Oct 27, 2018

    This made me cry again. I love the story and the performances.

    This made me cry again. I love the story and the performances.

  • Sep 12, 2018

    This movie hit close to home without the criminal aspect of it. I loved this film, the music part by Phoenix was a awesome surprise with the piano playing. The emotions were felt in this drama, I don't think a single director in Hollywood today could make a movie like this anymore, such depth, directors today have no clue how to build character which should be the first thing they learn. One of the best films by River.

    This movie hit close to home without the criminal aspect of it. I loved this film, the music part by Phoenix was a awesome surprise with the piano playing. The emotions were felt in this drama, I don't think a single director in Hollywood today could make a movie like this anymore, such depth, directors today have no clue how to build character which should be the first thing they learn. One of the best films by River.

  • Jun 10, 2018

    Reviewed 6.5.18 The film sports a stellar script, for which it dutifully received an Academy award nomination. Former radicals transformed into doting parents makes for an original and interesting setup. On occasion, it teeters toward movie of the week territory, but is thankfully rescued by the above board acting. The real life relationship between River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton renders genuine screen chemistry. It's a simple yet well-crafted film, which could easily be translated to the stage. If only River Phoenix's expressed desire for a sequel could have come to fruition. These are characters you want to grow with.

    Reviewed 6.5.18 The film sports a stellar script, for which it dutifully received an Academy award nomination. Former radicals transformed into doting parents makes for an original and interesting setup. On occasion, it teeters toward movie of the week territory, but is thankfully rescued by the above board acting. The real life relationship between River Phoenix and Martha Plimpton renders genuine screen chemistry. It's a simple yet well-crafted film, which could easily be translated to the stage. If only River Phoenix's expressed desire for a sequel could have come to fruition. These are characters you want to grow with.

  • Dec 09, 2017

    This film is a real sleeper. A family trying hard to have a normal life while on the run. All the actors are very good with Lahti in particular standing out. All of the young actors gave naturalistic performances and were well cast. Another Lumet winner.

    This film is a real sleeper. A family trying hard to have a normal life while on the run. All the actors are very good with Lahti in particular standing out. All of the young actors gave naturalistic performances and were well cast. Another Lumet winner.