Film Reviews

Brittany Runs A Marathon: Goals Are Good

Brittany smiles exhausted after a run.

Starting a new life-changing task is hard for most people to start. This film is inspired by a true story. A woman receives terrible news about her health and if she continues to live her lifestyle she will develop terrible health problems beyond being obese. Therefore, she decides to change her life for the better by taking up running and training to compete in a marathon.

Brittany at work goofing off. Woman with tape on her nose making it look like a pig's snout.
Brittany at work goofing off

Before she received the terrible news we see her at work in an off-Broadway theatre company joking with every attendant while being late to work. Her supervisor told her that she was too much of an aloof and too irresponsible. Then in her apartment, she shares with a roommate obsessed with social media (particularly Instagram) complaining to Brittany about her semi phony relationship with a guy she’s with for likes. They both go down to a club to binge drink and smoke weed. A man rudely imposes that they have sex at the side of a busy hallway in the club. At first, she turns him down but is turned down by him when she changes her mind. Looking in the mirror, she decides that her life could be better. Years of not taking care of herself were catching up with her.

Brittany sitting on the couch with Jern. Two adults drinking wine on a couch. Woman sitting upright, fully dressed with legs crossed. Man with legs and feet on the couch slouching on the couch.
Brittany sitting on the couch with Jern

The lead character starts to run on her street back and forth on a block sooner than later started to be able to run the whole street and partially the neighbourhood. She joins a running club where she meets two fellow runners who later become her friends, workout buddies and a part of her story of personal change. Eventually, she seeks out to run in a marathon. Her goal throughout the film after this point. She tries switching jobs to fuel her new lifestyle where she meets someone else in a similar position in life at her new employment.

I really like the relatable struggle with weight since a lot of people go through many of these issues the main character was facing. Personal failure, terrible job hunts, shallow friends, a lost parent and being broke are a part of the lead’s struggles throughout the movie. During her journey, she finds love, new self-respect, reasons to push herself forward and feeling new types of confidence. These were characteristics that were not apparent in her in the first act.

Brittany running at the marathon. Woman in pink runner's gear with hands in the air happy and relieved.
Brittany running at the marathon

This film stars Jillian Bell, an American actress and comedian who was in 22 Jump Street and Rough Night, two other comedies from a previous year. She was pretty good in this role. At the beginning of the film, they glued prosthetic on her face to make her look fat which stuck out to me because the things that made her cheeks rounder were a different shade than the rest of her face. They also made her wear costume stuffing for the same effect. After the exercise part of the film, the actress looks like she was slimming down and becoming fit. Based on a report from USA Today, the actress really did slim down for the role by dropping 40 pounds to understand the character’s motives.

This was all inspired by the true story about Brittany O’Neil and her struggles and accomplishments with change. Like her autobiography, the story is based in Manhattan, New York City and was about an existential crisis about her life at the time. Her friend, Paul Downs Colaizzo, who was her real roommate throughout this change was very supportive and inspired to write the screenplay to the movie and made his directorial debut with this film. Brittney O’Neil appears in the end credits in her running gear at the 2014 NYC marathon in photos.

The direction of the film is pretty ordinary for a coming of age, romantic comedy. But the treatment of the story wasn’t disrespectful or crude. It showed the natural development of the characters. Movies about weight loss in the pass can be condescending about the person’s life before they lose weight or preaching about how people should change their lives and be like this standard of normal person. This film was good. Not all of her problems were resolved and dealt with at the end ready to be all wrapped up but it did have a happy ending.

Trailer for Brittany Runs A Marathon

Genre: Drama/Comedy
Year: 2019
Duration: 103 minutes

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This film is 4 out of 5

Screenshots from film
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