Brittany Runs A Marathon film review: striking a chord

Jillian Bell as Brittany in Brittany Runs a Marathon.
Jillian Bell as Brittany in Brittany Runs a Marathon.

BRITTANY (Jillian Bell) is in a rut; she is 28 and just about making her rent working as an usher in a small theatre while in her off-time partying it up with roommate Gretchen (Alice Lee).

When her doctor tells her she needs to lose weight to stave off conditions such as high blood pressure and fatty liver, she joins a running group with her neighbour Catherine (Michaela), where she also befriends the equally exercise averse Seth (Micah Stock).

As she heads towards her weight goal, Brittany feels like she is reinventing her entire self and to top off this achievement the three friends decide to train for what seems like an impossible task: completing the New York City Marathon.

While people start to treat Brittany differently because of her changed looks, she comes to realise that it is not so easy to change how she views herself.

Jillian Bell as Brittany in Brittany Runs a Marathon.

Brittany Runs a Marathon runs the full gamut of emotions: Bell offers a performance that ranges from hilariously comedic to terrifyingly sad as the film delves into the psyche of a character who would normally be relegated to the funny fat sidekick.

It is confronting to see how Brittany has internalised the way society treats fat people, especially fat women, as lesser than those who are thinner, leading her to treat not just herself this way but also assume any help or friendship from others is only motivated by pity.

There are moments that could be triggering for those who have experienced disorders around body image, but thankfully Brittany eventually puts away the scales and running the marathon becomes less about losing weight and more a goal she wants to achieve entirely for herself.

The film’s message of self love may not be unique, but it will strike a chord with anyone who has felt left out simply for being themselves.

THE ESSENTIALS

Brittany Runs a Marathon (CTC)

Director: Paul Downs Colaizzo

Starring: Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar

Four stars

Review by Lucy Rutherford

Streaming on Amazon Prime Video from November 15

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