Brittany Runs a Marathon

It won the audience award at this year’s Sundance film festival. Need I say more?

Brittany Runs a MarathonBased on a true story, Brittany Runs a Marathon, director Paul Downs Colaizzo focuses his camera in Brittany Runs a Marathon on the human condition. Be you straight, gay, rich or poor, we all wrestle with various problems as we journey through life.

In this case, Jillian Bell gives a fascinating performance as Brittany, a single resident of New York City wrestling with several problems, one of them being her weight. A fowl mouth partygoer whose hangovers consistently leave her arriving too late to catch the subway, she finally goes to a doctor played formerly by Patch Darragh to get a health analysis. What she finds out both shocks and challenges her.

More of the point, Brittany weighs close to 200 pounds and must choose between excess and exercise. Though she has been advised by her doctor to run, she flees from the street when she sees her overweight reflection on a lunch-stand outside of her front door.

What makes this film so fascinating is a relationship Brittany develops with Catherine, who lives next to her in their apartment building. Michaela Watkins will immediately capture your attention as Catherine, an attractive woman going through a miserable divorce where she is denied custody of her two young children. She encourages Brittany to join her in a small running group that is preparing to participate in the next New York City Marathon, and Brittany will proceed to fascinate you as she tries to develop the ability to run faster than people pushing a child in a stroller.

What gives this film its emotional power flows from Brittany’s attempt to lose 50 pounds and redefine her life. Far from an easy task, you watch her struggle with disappointment at every turn.

There are some other wonderful performances particularly coming from Utkarsh Ambudkar, a young man who is also fighting his own anxiety. Initially annoying each other, they end up developing a relationship that will leave you rooting for both of them.

As I noted earlier, there is no easy way to address the problems that we all face in life. We simply need to remember that the secrete to living a fulfilling life comes from embracing lovers, friends and family. Brittany taught us that lesson. So, please keep this fine film on your to do list.