Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)

Streaming Service: Amazon Prime
Movie Name/Year: Brittany Runs A Marathon (2019)
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Length: 104 minutes
Rating:  R
Production/Distribution: Material Pictures, Picture Films, Amazon Studios, Amazon Prime Video, DCM Film Distribution, Diamond Films, Elevation Pictures, The Searchers
Director: Paul Downs Colaizzo
Writers: Paul Downs Colaizzo
Actors: Jillian Bell, LilRel Howery, Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Micah Stock, Alice Lee

Blurb from IMDb:  A young woman decides to make positive changes in her life by training for the New York City Marathon.

Cat’s Point of View:
I remember being interested in this movie when it was up for consideration for our August 2019 Top 20. It wasn’t quite clear to me whether this was going to have more of a dramatic slant or would delve further into comedy. It didn’t quite make the final cut for our lists, though now I’m wishing that it had.

Jillian Bell’s (Goosebumps, Fist Fight, Rough Night) quirky brand of comedy is generally on point. I love the juxtaposition her characters find themselves in where her actions or dialogue is unexpected in comparison to her demeanor. You just don’t expect her to say half the things that come out of her mouth sometimes.

My initial reaction was worry that this film would become something along the lines of a fat-shaming lampoon or an overly in-your-face ‘respect everyone’ preach fest. I am very glad to report that neither was the case. I am, frankly, shocked that this is the first full-length feature for Off-Broadway playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo (MacGyver, LFE). He captured the essence of these characters in a very relatable and honest way. The comedy laced throughout felt organic and seamlessly flowed, avoiding the common pitfalls of obvious schtick.

Of course, it likely helped that this tale was based on the journey of self-discovery of the writer/director’s good friend and former roommate.

I had a rather intense reaction to this film. I’ve struggled with my weight pretty much since middle school. It is not a fun roller coaster to be on. I recognized every moment of doubt and trepidation the titular character experiences. Bell’s performance was riveting. It was as if I was right there with her, looking at myself in the mirror with all the little negative voices that accompany not liking what you see. I felt the gut-punch from the attitude and lack of support from others and how hard it is to ask for or receive help on even the most basic levels.

There were so many meaningful moments throughout this film, and yet it wasn’t too heavy. It was gracefully balanced with humor so that it kept things light enough that you just knew there’d be light at the end of that proverbial tunnel. I was further impressed to learn that this film was the first non-documentary to film during the actual New York Marathon.

I would certainly recommend this movie, even though I may not be able to watch it again for some time due to the level I emotionally relate to it. It was phenomenal. 

P.S. - During the credits, images are shown of the marathon journey of the real-life Brittany whom this story was based on. 

Rotten Tomatoes Critic Score – 88%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience Score – 87%
Metascore – 72%
Metacritic User Score – 5.7/10
IMDB Score – 6.8/10
CinemaScore – None

Trust the Dice: Cat’s Rating – 4/5
Movie Trailer:

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