Tyson’s Run is about a teen boy who wants to be the son his father always wanted. Tyson is a 15-year-old, played by Major Dodson (The Walking Dead, American Horror Story, and Left Behind), who wants to be accepted by his father, but his autism stops him from being a star on his father’s champion high school football team.
Tyson realizes that homeschooling won’t help him with algebra because his mother can’t teach him what she doesn’t understand. Together, the two push for Tyson to attend the high school where his father coaches. While some students pick on Tyson, most respect him because of his dad’s reputation.
After school, Tyson notices Aklilu, played by Barkhad Abdi (Blade Runner 2049, The Pirates of Somalia, and Captain Phillips), running around the track. He instinctively joins in and soon learns that his body can’t keep up with the marathoner without the needed skills. Aklilu shares some words of wisdom that inspire Tyson to desire to be a champion marathoner and get his father’s attention.
There are many heartfelt moments in this film that Dodson initiates with ease. Some of the actors excel in this production like Amy Smart (Stargirl, Rat Race, and Just Friends) as Tyson’s mom. While others seem to be cutting their teeth for the first time without the proper preparation.
The production length or schedule may have been tight. In a film of this type, the character of Tyson needs to show improvements in running techniques from the start of the film to the end. An autistic child with the hyper-focused determination to run a marathon would certainly gain techniques each week.
The director, Kim Bass (Day of Days, Kill Speed, and Junkyard Dog), knew the importance of demonstrating this development. In fact, we see it demonstrated in Tyson’s Spanish class. His biology class also demonstrates his ability to focus on body parts and their definitions in more depth than any student or teacher.
But we didn’t see Tyson’s flat-footed running and stiff-armed movements benefit from his hyper-focus. His running methods at the end of the film seemed to match the beginning of the film. It’s as if the director never sought a running coach for developmental insights.
Aside from the lack of realism concerning Tyson’s growth, the film invites viewers into a wonderful conversation about the authenticity and heartfelt drive all teenagers face. More importantly, we see the sometimes-misguided views parents hold when they refuse to let their teens grow up.
This is a good film for the entire family to watch together. There are enough challenges and perspectives faced in the story to launch a real conversation with all ages of family members. And for those who prefer entertainment without lessons or politics, this film checks off all the boxes of an underdog story overcoming their shortcomings.
Also, the subplot about Tyson’s dad working through his ignorance demonstrates how a little bit of information provided through kindness can alter the lives of many. This is done with a backdrop that the dad is not a fool, but a highly respected man in the community. The juxtaposition of respect and ignorance helps the audience realize that all differences should be addressed with kindness, not anger.
The film opens this weekend in theaters. You can learn more about the movie on their website. You can also purchase tickets in advance. Director Kim Bass has worked hard to make this film a success for your family to see in theaters, so take time to check it out.
Copyright © 2022 by CJ Powers