Can running transform your life? That’s the question that the recent movie Brittany Runs a Marathon sets out to answer. I went to see it Sunday night, and it moved me so much that I had to write this Brittany Runs a Marathon review.
Brittany Forgler (Jillian Bell) is a hard-partying, overweight, hot mess of a New Yorker. Shots at the club, walks of shame – you name it, she’s doing it. But you can see in one of the first scenes how miserable she is, and how trapped she feels in her own body. Desperately seeking some Adderall for recreational use, she visits a doctor to score a prescription. But she leaves with one she didn’t want: a prescription to lose weight.
Daunted by the cost of a gym membership, Brittany laces up her ratty old Converse sneakers. She stands at the door to her apartment building, mustering the courage to go outside and run a block. And finally, she does. She runs that first block. With a nudge from her seasoned runner neighbor, Catherine (Michaela Watkins), Brittany joins a local running group and meets Seth (Micah Stock), a fellow newbie to running. And, after the three of them run a 5K, Brittany comes up with a completely crazy idea: run the New York City Marathon.
But lest you think the entire 104 minutes are about training for a marathon, think again. Brittany Runs a Marathon, which is loosely based on a true story, is about changing your life and your relationship with yourself. It’s about taking responsibility and building a life that makes you happy. The movie is alternately hilarious, like right after the trio decide to run a marathon, an ambulance blasts down the street. It’s heart-wrenching when supposed best friend and wannabe social media darling Gretchen (Alice Lee) tears down Brittany due to her own insecurities. And it’s real when Brittany lashes out in her own pain. The pain, the hard work, and the sense of accomplishment – all of that is why I’m writing a Brittany Runs a Marathon review.
There is literally nothing in this movie that was cliched or trite, not even the body image struggle. (Although Melissa will attest to me railing about the fictional Brittany’s marathon time, it turns out that it’s based on the real Brittany’s marathon time, so I can’t be too angry.)
Running turned out to be Brittany’s catalyst, not just for losing weight but for taking on challenges she never thought possible. And along the way, she struggled and sometimes failed, but she consistently dusted herself off and kept moving forward.
My only regret is that I didn’t see this movie sooner! It’s nearing the end of its run, so if you want to see Brittany Runs a Marathon, check your local listings. Melissa and I had to drive out to Jacinto City to see it. But it was so worth it.