In Hulu’s psychological thriller, Run, a young girl named Chloe is made to believe she is extremely sick, but what’s actually wrong with her?
In Hulu’s latest psychological thriller, Run, a young girl named Chloe Sherman (Kiera Allen) is made to believe that she is extremely sick, but what’s actually wrong with her? According to her mother, she has five different illnesses that impact her ability to navigate the world as she wishes. As the movie progresses, it is revealed that something far more sinister has caused her to live in a wheelchair, and under constant observation by medical professionals. Once Chloe realizes that she may not be as sick as she’s been led to believe, the truth behind all of her illnesses unfolds.
Starring Sarah Paulson (American Horror Story, Ratched) as Diane Sherman, the story follows the single mother as she tends to her daughter Chloe who is in a wheelchair, requires an inhaler, and takes several rounds of medication a day. It is proposed that all of her ailments result from her premature birth. After discovering a suspicious bottle of pills, Chloe takes off to the pharmacy to figure out what exactly they’re meant for. She learns that it is a muscle relaxer that Diane gets for their dog, but her mother made her take them the night before. According to the pharmacist, this kind of medication would cause a person’s legs to go numb. All of this information forces Chloe to question her mother’s true intent behind her supposed caregiving.
The story resembles countless news reports on Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, in which a parent or guardian purposefully makes the person in their care sick, to receive monetary gain or attention. One of the most famous cases is that of Gypsy Rose Blanchard, whose mother gaslighted her into believing that she was terminally ill, and of a very young age. After years of torment, she murdered her mother with the help of her boyfriend. Their entire story was retold through the Hulu original series The Act. In Run, Diane may have had initial concerns, but it seems to have quickly transformed into Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy, which begs the question, is there anything really wrong with Chloe? And, if so, what is it exactly?
Which 5 Diseases Does Chloe Think She Has In Run?
In Run, Chloe is falsely diagnosed with 5 different diseases, and her mother goes to extreme measures to manipulate her daughter into believing that she has them. The first illness Chloe thinks she has is asthma. Asthma is relatively common, yet can be life-threatening. The illness in question causes airways to become narrow, swell, and produce extra mucus. This leads to difficulty breathing, especially during exercise, and wheezing. Chloe is seen using an inhaler throughout Run, which can have adverse effects for those who don’t need it. Another illness Chloe believes she has is type 1 diabetes. The main difference between Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes is how the body deals with insulin. In Type 1, which can be developed at any point in life, the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, which leads to consistently high blood sugar, nerve damage, and even limb loss.
Chloe also is led to believe that she has arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is a heart condition, most commonly known as an irregular heartbeat. This causes a slew of health issues when it comes to physical activity. Hemochromatosis is the fourth falsely diagnosed illness Chloe has. Hereditary hemochromatosis means that the body absorbs too much iron from food. Too much iron in the bloodstream can lead to other complications like liver disease, heart problems, and diabetes. The final diagnosis is paralysis. Chloe’s paralysis is directly linked to her mother, as in Run, she feeds her daughter pills that cause paralysis in the legs.
Why Chloe’s Mom Lies About Her Health In Run
The biggest twist towards the end of the movie is that Chloe is not the premature baby shown in the beginning. Diane’s biological daughter died shortly after she was born, and she kidnapped Chloe to fill the void. To keep her from losing another daughter, she finds ways to confine her to their home by way of gaslighting, taking her to several different doctors to form a falsified story of her ailments, and treating her with medications that aren’t intended for human consumption. While some of her illnesses may have been made up, some of them turned real the longer she was subject to Diane’s torment.
Her asthma appears to be entirely real because she uses an inhaler at will when she cannot breathe. At the same time, it could be argued that her use of it is a placebo effect, similar to that of Eddie Kaspbrak of Andy Muschietti’s IT. When she has difficulty breathing, she uses the inhaler. Her difficulty breathing could be asthma, but it could also be panic attacks induced by the claustrophobic and abusive environment Diane creates in their home (like Eddie Kasbrak). Chloe is not paralyzed, as the pharmacist reveals when she mentions the medication is lidocaine for their dog. The same muscle relaxers can be used to treat both dogs and humans. Lidocaine blocks nerve signals to specific parts of the body, but there is little to no evidence that it directly affects a person’s legs.
The end of Run reveals that Chloe isn’t paralyzed, but she is an ambulatory wheelchair user, which means that she has the capability to walk short distances. The prolonged use of the muscle relaxer likely caused her to lose some function in her legs. Ultimately, Chloe is not as sick as Diane makes her out to be. It is all manipulated to assist her mother in keeping her captive. It’s shown in the ending of Run, that the consistent use of the medication, her gaslighting, and manipulation caused Chloe to become somewhat reliant on her inhaler, and lose partial use of her legs.
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