Directed by: Paul Downs Colaizzo
Review by: Livi Edmonson
The always-hilarious Jillian Bell stars as Brittany in this Amazon Studios dramedy film. The film follows a woman in her late-20s who leads an unhealthy lifestyle as she decides to turn her life around and compete in the New York City Marathon. The film is based on a real person, which makes the narrative all the more endearing and inspiring than it might already seem.
The film very much follows the typical hero’s journey narrative structure, but don’t let the underdog story fool you: It is still a “chick flick” persay. Not to say that the male gender will not enjoy this film. Quite frankly, I think anyone who has a heart and is included in the R-rated age range will enjoy this film — it is fantastic. However, it does have certain chick-flick tendencies with quite a few romance film tropes. Running theme aside, the movie reminded me quite a bit of the film, “Trainwreck” (2015) and even “How to Be Single” (2016). Bell and Schumer (of “Trainwreck”) have many similarities and seem to attract the same type of audience. As for the two films themselves, both “Trainwreck” and “Brittany Runs a Marathon” favor the “single girl with commitment issues” trend seen numerous times in recent years — mostly in post-feminist era romantic comedies like these two. Although, the marathon in this particular film is not only the big picture goal of the plot, but instead a metaphor for the marathon of life that Brittany must run to fully accept herself as the person she is meant to be.
“Brittany Runs a Marathon” may teach its audience many lessons about self-love, but it also stresses the importance of accomplishing your goals — no matter how big or how small. Despite its R-rating, the movie presents a positive role model, not because Brittany is particularly a great person but instead, her flawed tendencies make her human. Brittany is not your typical female protagonist, usually seen in mainstream films like this one mainly because she shows her redeemable qualities way later in the film versus at the beginning when the script first establishes her character. This is refreshing to see in a film like this particular one because you want the audience to actually root for the main character and instead of feeling forced, rooting for Brittany felt extremely natural.
“Brittany Runs a Marathon” is a hilarious yet wildly inspiring film. If you are a runner, do not sleep on this film — it truly will be your new favorite film. However, even if you are not a runner like myself, be prepared to be motivated to run a marathon by the end of the film. In all seriousness though, “Brittany Runs a Marathon” teaches many valuable lessons about self-love, body image, and genuinely just defying other people’s expectations. Brittany wants to run a marathon not just to prove everyone else is wrong about her, but also to prove herself wrong. This film is for anyone who is struggling with believing in themselves and coping with their own self-identity. It is enlightening to see a movie like this one that is not extremely serious in its goal-chasing narrative tactics but can still inspire an entire audience, all the while incorporating lovable generic elements such as drama, romance, and comedy. Go see this film! I give it an 8.5 out of 10.