Runners is a 1983 film written by Stephen Poliakoff, and directed by Charles Sturridge. It stars Kate Hardie and James Fox.
Runners begins in Nottingham, a provincial city clouded by dullness. The Lindsays, a stagnant "happy" family lives in its cramped box of a home. Habit seems to have stilled all doubts. Then, without warning or explanation, the daughter Rachel (Kate Hardie) —twelve or thirteen—runs away, she leaves home on her bicycle one day, and he could not suspect that she would never return home. The parents tell the police. A search begins and slowly dies away: a lot of kids abandon home and family now, the parents are told. What can you do?
With his teenage daughter on the missing list for two years, Tom Lindsay (James Fox) refuses to accept the pessimism around him and the suggestions that she is probably dead. The need to keep looking takes charge of his life, especially when he meets another mother as anxious to find her son (Helen, played by Jane Asher) a fellow member of a rather desperate and eccentric self-help support group for the parents of missing children.
This pair of discarded parents go to London. They find a drab, tense city, so ugly and disordered that fears mount. Together they scour the hidden world of the capital for their errant offspring, coming into contact with a range of puzzling figures who may help or hinder them, and finding a momentary comfort in each other in the process, despite their respective partners at home.
And the missing child? She is not murdered, not even in immediate danger. Yet her reasons for leaving and her blank refusal to return are maybe more disturbing than death. For they show a profound failure in the clichés of family and middle-class confidence.
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