Run Granny Run

Run Granny Run


Reviewed by: Susanna Krawczyk

In the year 2000, George W Bush raised millions of dollars to fund his election campaign. This so enraged New Hampshire citizen Doris “Granny D” Haddock that she staged a protest walk from coast to coast in order to speak out about what she sees as an unfair advantage gained by politicians who are willing to take massive sums of money from corporations and other special interest groups. She completed her walk and decided that it wasn’t enough and so presented herself as a senatorial candidate for New Hampshire in 2004, at the age of 94.

Doris is exactly the kind of person people mean when they use the word “inspirational”. At 94, when the film was made, she retains all of her mental faculties and an incredible drive to push her body to its limits, walking all over her home state to talk to people and hand out leaflets. It’s genuinely thrilling to see someone who is willing to go to such lengths to stand up to the corruption of high stakes US politics, especially to see an elderly woman – a demographic that society largely sees as harmless, ineffectual and even comical – entering a world traditionally dominated by young and middle-aged men.

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Doris tells us how she looked after her husband as he succumbed to Alzheimer’s before passing away in 1993, and her guilt at being unable to devote all of her time to her daughter, who is now suffering from the disease. This is something that is heard again and again from women who are driven and who have ambitions and pursuits that keep them away from their families, and it is heartening to see that Doris did not succumb to it and, while continuing to spend as much time with her daughter as her campaigning allowed, stuck to her guns and didn’t give up.

Her story is told relatively succinctly, coming in at around and hour and 20-minutes, and is narrated by Doris herself. This works well, as her story is a simple one and needs little elaboration. Quite shocking are the dirty tricks that Granny D’s opponent uses to discredit her, such as insinuating that someone else wrote her debate material - tuts and gasps of disbelief from the audience in the cinema - in what is clearly an attempt to plant doubt in the voters’ minds about whether Granny D is mentally capable of running for office. It also highlights the degree to which funding is essential for any candidate and those unwilling to pander to special interest groups is immediately disadvantaged alongside someone willing to cosy up to a corporation.

On my way out I heard one of my fellow critics telling someone over the phone that the movie he had just seen was “a bit cheesy,” and, yes, certainly this film is high on sentiment and idealism in the US of A, summed up well by one of Granny D’s closing statements: “Democracy isn’t something we have, it’s something we do.”

And one thing is true, cheesy or not, Doris Haddock did it.

Reviewed on: 18 Aug 2007
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Doris, aged 94, stands for election in the US Senate.
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Director: Mario Poras

Starring: Doris Haddock

Year: 2007

Runtime: 77 minutes

Country: US


EIFF 2007

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