Running On Empty

Sidney Lumet fuses the personal with the political in RUNNING ON EMPTY, dramatizing the conflicts in a family on the run from the FBI. Arthur and Annie Pope (Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti) are former student radicals who have been underground for 15 years, moving from town to town with their two children and changing identities whenever the law begins...read more

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Sidney Lumet fuses the personal with the political in RUNNING ON EMPTY, dramatizing the conflicts in a family on the run from the FBI. Arthur and Annie Pope (Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti) are former student radicals who have been underground for 15 years, moving from town to town with

their two children and changing identities whenever the law begins to catch up. Their son, Danny (River Phoenix), a gifted musician, is ready to graduate from high school and is being encouraged by his music teacher (Ed Crowley) to apply to Julliard. To do so, however, Danny would have to produce

a transcript, which would mean leaving the underground and separating permanently from his family. At the same time, the boy falls in love with the music teacher's daughter, Lorna (Martha Plimpton), further straining familial bonds. RUNNING ON EMPTY is about an age-old dilemma: the difficulties

that arise when the time comes for children to leave the nest. Lumet develops his story at a leisurely but effective pace, allowing the dynamics of a family in transition--not the sudden appearance of the FBI or an action-paced chase--to give the film its tension. Though Arthur and Annie are

center stage very nearly as much as Danny, RUNNING ON EMPTY is Danny's story, seen from his perspective. Phoenix delivers a convincing, serious performance, and the rest of the cast, save for the miscast Hirsch, is also strong.

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  • Released: 1988
  • Rating: PG-13
  • Review: Sidney Lumet fuses the personal with the political in RUNNING ON EMPTY, dramatizing the conflicts in a family on the run from the FBI. Arthur and Annie Pope (Judd Hirsch and Christine Lahti) are former student radicals who have been underground for 15 year… (more)

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