Brittany doesn’t really follow any kind of self care regime. Living in NYC, she likes to party hard, eat unhealthily and regularly get drunk. She jokes around at work and with her friends, who all think she’s fun. But beneath that bubbly exterior lies some deep unhappiness.
A visit to the doctor to try and score some prescription drugs doesn’t quite go to plan when Brittany is told that her high BMI puts her in the obese zone, and she could do with losing around 45 pounds (which Brittany points out is about the size of a grown Siberian Husky!). But when she visits the local gym and the personal trainer showing her around tells her how expensive monthly membership is, she realises she’s going to have to find some much cheaper methods of exercise. “You do know that people can just run outside?” she tells the gym worker.
So that’s what she does, starting off slow by running just one block. Neighbour Catherine, who Brittany and her roommate used to laugh and joke about, is part of a local running group and soon becomes a friend when Brittany bites the bullet and joins the running group too. She forms a small support group with Catherine and Seth, another new runner, and as their confidence grows, and the pounds begin to drop off, Brittany and her new friends decide to tackle the New York marathon, giving themselves just under a year to prepare.
Brittany Runs a Marathon is actually based on a real person. Writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo lived with friend Brittany O’Neill and came up with the idea for the movie after she decided to turn her own life around and take up running. The resulting movie straddles the line between glossy rom-com and quirky indie movie, but never really landing fully on either side. It meanders along, a little slowly at times, ticking the occasional rom-com box along the way, such as the co-worker that Brittany initially dislikes, but ends up sleeping with.
What makes the movie though is Jillian Bell, who plays Brittany. The change in her life is clear as the movie progresses and her character feels believable and authentic. By the time the day of the marathon arrives, you’re right there rooting for her.
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