Movie Review Monday: Brittany Runs A Marathon
Our review this weekend is focused on a film that received a smaller theatrical debut and has finally started expanding its run. Brittany Runs a Marathon follows an overweight woman who trains for The New York City Marathon in her journey to lose weight. The comedy-drama was written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo, and it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival back in January. Jillian Bell stars as Brittany Forgler, and Michaela Watkins plays a major role as her neighbor and fellow runner, Catherine. The film’s cast also includes Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lil Rel Howery, Micah Stock, Alice Lee, and Peter Vack.
The film begins with a quick introduction to Brittany Forgler, a 28-year-old woman who lives in New York City with her roommate, Gretchen. Brittany works at an off-Broadway theater as a greeter, and she consistently parties during the week with her roommate. When she goes to the doctor to obtain an Adderall prescription, he informs her instead how she needs to be healthier and lose some weight. Brittany seeks out a gym in an effort to improve her health, but the cost of the most basic gym membership is beyond her means. Brittany jokingly tells the gym employee that walking and running outside is free and decides to pursue that path instead. After feeling discouraged about her current situation, she finally pushes herself to run for one block. Her neighbor, Catherine, notices her and invites her to a running group that Saturday, which Brittany declines. However, after drinking and partying with Gretchen makes her feel sick, Brittany decides to attend the runners group after all. It is here she meets another new and struggling runner, Seth, and shortly thereafter, all three of them decide to train for The New York City Marathon together.
So, this comedic film was really charming and unsurprisingly hilarious. The trailer set up perfectly the type of humor to expect and the struggle of the main character, and the movie delivers on both of these aspects. On the surface, the movie is about a girl who takes up running as a way to lose weight and be healthier, but the film hits key emotional moments along her personal journey. It has a killer cast of faces that are not overly familiar, but each one has their moment to shine. Michaela Watkins brings a lot of depth to the character of Catherine and elevates her to more than just the annoyingly fit neighbor who runs. Micah Stock is fantastically funny as Seth, and The Mindy Project’s Utkarsh Ambudkar makes Jern an incredibly lovable character who is not as shallow as the audience might expect.
The person that holds it all together, though, is Jillian Bell’s performance as Brittany. Brittany is a complicated character, and she has moments where she is genuinely terrible. However, Bell captures the emotional side of Brittany’s journey with ease, and the audience can feel every victory and disappointment she experiences along the way. Honestly, the film is surprising in the best way possible. The real heart of the story is about a woman who feels like her life isn’t going anywhere and how she attempts to change it by literally and figuratively taking one small step at a time.
Overall, Brittany Runs a Marathon is a funny and often inspiring story about a woman wanting to change her life for the better. I think it handles her attitudes toward health and weight in an interesting way, and in doing so, it sends out some really positive messages. There are several twists and turns along the way, and personally, I enjoyed the authenticity of the obstacles that are placed in Brittany’s path. At the end of the day, Brittany Runs a Marathon is a fun and heartfelt film with a truly rewarding ending that I think should be enjoyed in theaters.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.