Starring: Jillian Bell, Michaele Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar
Director: Paul Downs Colaizzo
Running Time: 103 mins
Brittany Runs A Marathon is an American film about a young woman who, sitting at a low point in her life, decides to train for the New York marathon, and sees her life take an upward swing.
While Brittany Runs A Marathon isn’t the funniest comedy of all time, nor the most enthralling drama, it is one of the few films that really takes positive, self-motivating drama and makes it both entertaining and surprisingly genuine. Often even striking up moments of moving emotion here and there, the film offers up a lot more than the generic story of a funny, quirky New York girl finding her place in the world, and with a thoroughly likable and insightful lead turn from Jillian Bell, there’s actually a lot that makes this film stand out.
Now, if you’re going into Brittany Runs A Marathon expecting laugh-a-minute gags, then you may come up a little disappointment. Why is that the case? Well, it’s in part down to the fact that some of the humour isn’t the most hilarious, with often rather simple and predictable gags that don’t form the core of the film’s energy, but it’s in fact mostly down to the fact that this film isn’t just there to make you laugh, and despite what the odd trailer or poster might suggest to you, is a lot more earnest and a lot more intelligent.
Ultimately an impressively uplifting and genuine story of self-motivation and confidence, Brittany Runs A Marathon treads a very fine line between a cheesy, predictable success story and its own genuine drama, but it’s the latter that ultimately wins out, and in delightful fashion too.
Looking at themes such as body positivity, peer pressure, social media and self-confidence, the film is full of insightful and relatable ideas that make for genuinely engrossing viewing, and as things become a little more serious toward the latter stages of the story, that impressively genuine and earnest view of topics that could so easily be turned into painfully cheesy strains of fake positivity really makes for a delightful surprise.
There are times when Brittany Runs A Marathon does follow a rather predictable narrative path, with the generic ups and downs of any story following a person trying to make sense of their own life, and that means it can often come off as a little less spectacular and memorable.
However, it’s the fact that the film has such a surprising capacity to open up emotionally, delivering a wonderfully positive and genuinely uplifting tale in a way that so few other movies have managed in the past, that makes it a great watch, and with Jillian Bell in the lead role brilliantly blending the film’s comedic chops and very down-to-earth, insightful drama, there’s so much to appreciate about Brittany Runs A Marathon, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.2 overall.