Life is messy, in ways that are both beautiful/magical and wrenching/tragic and sometimes all at once. That is the overarching message I see in this film, not a new message but an artfully conceived version of it, with engaging acting and a script that starts out with a sense of lack of direction but, about 30 minutes into it, wondering if it was going somewhere, within 5 more minutes, I was hooked and saw the buildup as having been appropriate stage-setting for what followed, also in the circuitous path that life often takes.
And in that circuitous and messy quality of life, the film hones in particularly on intensity - and how intensity of emotion catches us by surprise and sometimes can catapult us into emotional arcs we couldn't see coming and may not understand even as they beckon us. The central character travels two comparable but distinct arcs of intensity, arcs separated by an ocean but within a week's time lapse in which we watch her complex responses evolve in the context of these two passages through which she travels.
In retrospect, it was the well-established sense of lack of direction in the film's first half hour which becomes part of the message overall - a sense of several characters (but two in particular and then a third) wandering, stumbling, happenstancing through their young-adult lives. Suddenly out of happenstance grows increasing sense of purpose which is at once bewildering and as if guided by inexplicable forces triggered and mapped by the power of connection – human, heartfelt (and yearning) connection. Sexual chemistry may be the entry point but the film is definitely about a stirring of the imagination and sense of (be)longing, a force that is seen as sometimes distrusted precisely because the entry point was sexual.
In a way, the film can be seen as an exploration of the "If only..." kind of regret that some express (or fear) at life's end ("If only i'd followed my heart at such-and-such a crossroads....") where the 3 central characters reflect slightly different takes on what may happen when you do follow your heart at such points. The consequences are poignant and life-altering, also in different senses for each character. Yet in each case, these three make key decisions, ones that feel vital, in the direction of connection and imagination. The last time we see each of these three, it seems their heart and their realization of who they are and what they thirst for, what their life's priority is, has expanded.
A crucial exclamation point to this message, for me, came across as we see that same power- of-connection-and-imagination play out in the eyes of the youngest protagonist in the film. When the oldest central protagonists, the parents, have their bubble burst and retract in a sense of betrayal that their willingness to believe and to follow a certain idealism and wishfulness of spirit has been deceived, their young son does not follow suit and, in his yearning to still believe that magical connection is real and realizable, he gives expression, bodily, literally, to the titular message exemplified by the three central protagonists in their early adulthoods - namely, that with or without full understanding of what impels them, we see them opt to go running (after a dream-of-sorts they didn't know they had but responded to a powerful glimpse of) - running where the messy intensities of their human connections, where the triumph of belief over doubt, for however long, leads them. (But let me finish by noting that this review ties too neat a bow, it should be messier than this.)