Brittany Runs a Marathon is perhaps the most neglected movie of the year. While the title is quite simplistic in nature, the story line is anything but.
Jilian Bell is Brittany Folger, a 28 year-old single woman living in Manhattan. She spends her nights binge drinking and hooking up with some questionable men and her mornings regretting everything she did the night before.
In the early moments of the movie it’s evident that Brittany is looking for a way out of the funk she is in. She’s sad, depressed and has no direction. So she decides to try and swindle her doctor out of prescription pills. Instead of the pills however Brittany is given an unprompted dose of reality when the doctor tells her she needs to lose 55 pounds.
An unimpressed Brittany quips, “You totally missed the point of those Dove ads.”
Even more depressed than before, Brittany decides something needs to be done. Don’t be fooled, this film does not feature a huge totally over the top unrealistic body transformation. Brittany isn’t that pretty girl who doesn’t know how pretty she is. Cough, cough “Miss Congeniality” cough, cough.
Instead this is the journey of a woman who endeavours to transform how she views herself and works to become the most all-round beautiful version of herself she can be.
Brittany Runs a Marathon features a great ensemble cast with actors including Utkarsh Ambudkar and Micheala Watkins playing well rounded and well written characters that play off Brittany so well.
Despite this Bell’s character can be hard to like in places. There’s a particularly unpleasant scene when she fat shames another woman, however she is an honest character and the story works hard to ensure that it doesn’t gloss over the mental anguish that Brittany is feeling while on the life changing journey she has decided to take.
You could say that Brittany Runs a Marathon is everything Amy Schumer’s “I Feel Pretty” isn’t. Bell doesn’t rely on her humor to carry the story, she’s emotionally vulnerable and is incredibly closed of. She’s reluctant to let people in and there is something identifiable with the struggles she is encountering.
Bell is hilarious, delivering fantastic one liners throughout the movie and her impression of Babe “I am lost in the city, I can’t find my farm” is hilarious. She also does a great Australian accent, no easy feat.
Bell, who lost 40 pounds over the course of filming, has previously appeared in 22 Jump Street and Fist Fight. This is her first starring role. First-time filmmaker Paul Downs Colaizzo ensures that the script has all the right amount of light and shade needed. Colaizzo does a fantastic job of ensuring that the message of the movie is constant and clear throughout.
The movie is all about body positivity and highlights the message that your body should be respected for all the amazing things it can do rather than what dress size you are or what you look like. Writer-director Colaizzo deserves praise for not jumping to the outdated thin means happiness ending.
Image credit: Netflix