Film Review: BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON (USA 2019) ***

Brittany Runs a Marathon Poster

A woman living in New York takes control of her life- one block at a time.

The easy going sounding title captures the easy going spirit of the new inspirational comedy BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON where he protagonist Brittany does run a marathon.

The film has a cliched plot – a sort of romantic comedy type in which through an overweight is shown that beauty is not alway on the outside and that she can win romance while getting the message across.  The plot comes complete with the typical best gay friend.  The good thing about it is that director Colazzo still manages to steer his movie out of these cliched traps into something unexpected while still squeezing some surprise while at it.  This is what make BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON stand out and end up so entertaining.

The story concerns Brittany Forgler (Jamie Bell), a hilarious, friendly, hot mess of a New Yorker who always knows how to have a good time,.  A 27, her late-night adventures and early-morning walks-of-shame are starting to catch up to her. When she stops by a Yelp-recommended doctor’s office in an attempt to score some Adderall (the film contains drug use), she finds herself slapped with a prescription she never wanted.  Forced to face reality for the first time in a long time, Brittany laces up her Converse and runs one sweaty block. The next day, she runs two. Soon she runs a mile. Brittany finally has direction–but is she on the right path?

The film would not work if it had not been for its lead actress Jamie Bell who plays Brittany.  Besides charmin her audience, she is totally believable in her role.  The actress reportedly lost 40 pounds as the film progressed and it shows on screen.  She manages to hook up with two extremely hot guys as well, particularly her short-term one that she dumps out of insecurity.  

The film also demonstrates the work both physically and emotionally that goes into the preparation of running a marathon.  And running well as well as completing the marathon are two different things.  Brittany is shown almost to give it up as she endures physical deterioration due to exhaustion. 

The film also pokes fun at social mores of the city be it NYC or any other city.   When told of the fees of joining a gym, she correctly states that one can run outside for free instead of paying to run inside on a track.  She finally joins a gym in the end, though, which is what most city dwellers do after running outside for a time – myself included.

As Brittany’s physical appearance changes, so does the emotional.  The script shows two emotional outbursts – one good one bad.  The bad one has her lash out at an overweight friend at a party to the shock of all those around her.  She is totally wrong but the script lets her go off easy.  The other has her, deservedly telling off her Asian roommate, for treating her as a convenient fat best friend.

For those unconfident of their body weight, BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON offers a reality check as well a the necessary dose of inspiration that goes with it.  Having a few laughs while watching the film is an additional bonus.