Ho Hum. Last weekend, no major release; this weekend, only It: Chapter Two. What to do? Run to your nearest indie theater. Brittany Runs A Marathon is more drama than comedy as it explores the dynamic of how the world sees the overweight, and how they see themselves. And, even with a drastic change in lifestyle, does the view in the mirror change? Certain that the world treats her differently from other women, must she always suspect the motives of those who offer help? In this case, the marathon is just a metaphor for life; it’s not easy for anyone. I give the movie 3.5 Gavels and it earns a 92% Rotten Tomatoes rating with an 87% Audience score.
Fifty pounds overweight, horrific eating habits, and drinking too much, Brittany’s doctor tells her to lose fifty pounds. With no support system, and no money to join a gym, she decides to run, maybe more of a walk. Reluctantly joining a running group, she finds Seth to be someone with whom she can identify. Then, Catherine befriends the two as they seek to expand their goals. Yet, for a race that has no wooden hurdles, each finds obstacles in their paths.
Jillian Bell, the comedian, tries to make Brittany a funny character, but the depth of her despair cause the jokes to fall flat. Still, she gives a compelling performance as she goes through the various stages of taking responsibility. Michaela Watkins, is terrific as Catherine, appearing to have the perfect life, even as it crumbles around her. Utkarsh Ambudkar, as the maybe-boyfriend, gives a noteworthy performance trying to figure out where he fits in Brittany’s life.
Brittany Runs A Marathon has many more layers than the trailer hints. Absentee fathers, divorce, and poor choices are just a few more in this complex look at who we are. At what point do we become happy with our lives? At times, Brittany is unlikable. Yet, give her credit. As difficult as the race may be, she doesn’t give up. Based on a true story, occasionally the film loses fluidity. Jillian Bell lost 40 pounds for this role. But, never does she lose our interest. Not a movie for everyone, but Bell delivers a winner.