by Soma Brodhun
“Life is a marathon, so pace yourself…” – anonymous
Basically: A steel-set gem of a movie about one woman’s journey of self-realization and actualization.
Brittany Runs a Marathon was written & directed lovingly by Paul Downs Colaizzo, who was inspired by his friend Brittany O’Neil and her real-life experiences. Jillian Bell shines in her portrayal of Brittany Forgler, who gets a diagnosis from her doctor that her careless lifestyle is taking a dangerous toll on her health and well-being. She decides that the fastest (and cheapest) way in New York City to reach her goal weight and improve her health is to start running. And, in comedic fashion, Brittany goes from barely being able to finish a 5K without collapsing to becoming obsessed with running the New York City Marathon.
Photo by Jon Pack - © Courtesy of Sundance Institute
If I had to choose a genre I would call this film a dark comedy, but it actually just portrays unvarnished reality. Brittany’s character shows the humorous but sometimes stark realities of a person struggling with their self-worth and how that experience colors her relationships (or lack thereof) with the people in her life. Bell makes you want to root for Brittany, even when she makes bad choices and acts like a hot mess.
The characters, both lead and supporting, are refreshingly diverse and realistic in their portrayals. Brittany Runs a Marathon is very relatable in showing that friends and lovers are lost and gained during times of transition in our lives and it’s often not the people we expect.
Warning: This movie has some laugh-out-loud funny moments but there are also raw depictions and dialogue about sex and body image, which could be painful
In the End: Go see it! I went into this screening expecting a silly rom-com and instead was rewarded with one of my favorite films of 2019.