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Brittany Runs A Marathon

by Kevin Taft
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Friday Aug 23, 2019
'Brittany Runs A Marathon'
'Brittany Runs A Marathon'  

Every once in awhile a movie comes along that hits you in such a way that you are personally inspired. Sure, there are films that are clearly meant to cause the masses to rise up and want to do better and be better, but there are manipulation and expectation there. With the new indie film "Brittany Runs a Marathon" that inspiration might seem obvious; "a woman down on her life decides to run the New York City Marathon and change her life." Sure, that's what it's about and sure, she does exactly this, but it's the subtle ways she evolves and the tiny things that she changes that make this journey authentic and rousing.

Comedian Jillian Bell (best known for "Rough Night" and "Office Christmas Party") stars as the real-life Brittany (yup! It's based on a true story) who parties all night and spends her days working at a small theatre company in New York. She lives with her equally hard-partying roommate Gretchen (Alice lee), a self-involved Instagram influencer (I know that can seem redundant) who doesn't always have the best for Brittany in mind.

Brittany feels lost as it is. She doesn't love her job, she is overweight, and she seems to always be relegated as the funny, fat sidekick. Her self-esteem is low and while she is fairly nice, her mood is gloomy unless she's had shots shot-shot-shot shot shots! When her doctor (Patch Darragh) suggests she lose around 50 pounds, she is at once offended but realizes maybe he's right. With no money to afford a gym, she decides to take up running. Feeling overwhelmed, her neighbor Catherine (Michaela Watkins) suggests she try small steps, and with that advice, Brittany begins her journey.

What's wonderful about this film is that it's not just about her training for a marathon. It's about her changing her attitude, learning to look at people from different angles to see both the good and bad, and understanding that the things she hates in other people might be things she is taking part in herself.

All of this is done realistically and sometimes very subtly, as opposed to some sort of big Adam Sandler movie where the beats are laid out with a trumpet announcing each one. There are ups and downs here, and it's easy to relate to part or all of Brittany's emotional rises and falls.

Jillian Bell is the find here. While hilarious in other films where she tends to be a side character, here she is able to show an expert range from hysterical to truly emotional and touching. Like Melissa McCarthy and Kristin Wiig before her, Jillian displays a range that is worthy of Award attention. She's that good. (Side note: She actually lost 40 pounds while making the film — the same amount of weight the character loses. Not that this indicates her talent, but shows her commitment to being authentic.)

The entire cast is equally terrific, with a special mention to Utkarsh Ambudkar, who plays Jern, an annoying roommate she lives with for a while. What's terrific about the actor (and the writing by director Paul Downs Colaizzo) is that he's a character you think you've seen before, yet he ends up not being what you expect, which is a joy to watch.

As for Colaizzo, he's given us what might seem on the surface to be a pretty black and white premise. But he sprinkles it with so much truth and life, it becomes a different sprint altogether.

"Brittany Runs a Marathon" is consistently entertaining, but it's also incredibly moving and, as I said, completely inspiring. I left totally smitten with Bell and ready to race home and make some changes to my life. Yes, this is a movie you should be running to. Sure, it's not some big-budget superhero spectacular, it's just simply... spectacular.

Brittany Runs a Marathon

A hard-partying woman receives a startling wake-up call when a visit to the doctor reveals how unhealthy she is. Motivated to lose weight, she soon takes up running to help her prepare for her ultimate goal -- competing in the New York City Marathon.

Info

Runtime :: 103 mins
Release Date :: Sep 13, 2019
Language :: Silent
Country :: United States

Cast

Brittany :: Jillian Bell
Jern :: Utkarsh Ambudkar
Catherine :: Michaela Watkins
Demetrius :: Lil Rel Howery
Seth :: Micah Stock
Dev :: Mikey Day
Gretchen :: Alice Lee
Terrence :: Dan Bittner
Ryan :: Peter Vack
Doctor Falloway :: Patch Darragh

Crew

Director :: Paul Colaizzo
Screenwriter :: Paul Colaizzo
Producer :: Matthew Plouffe
Producer :: Tobey Maguire
Producer :: Margot Hand
Executive Producer :: Richard Weinberg
Executive Producer :: Jillian Bell
Executive Producer :: Paul Colaizzo
Cinematographer :: Seamus Tierney
Film Editor :: Casey Brooks
Original Music :: Duncan Thum
Production Design :: Erin Magill
Art Director :: Naomi Munro
Set Decoration :: Kim Fischer
Costume Designer :: Stacey Berman
Casting :: Laura Rosenthal
Casting :: Maribeth Fox

Kevin Taft is a screenwriter/critic living in Los Angeles with an unnatural attachment to 'Star Wars' and the desire to be adopted by Steven Spielberg.


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