REVIEW: Brittany Runs a Marathon

While Brittany Runs a Marathon was a movie with an interesting storyline, some good messages, and a few comedic moments, I must admit that for me, it missed the mark. The film watched like it wanted to be a feel-good story, except that I felt exhausted when it was over. It was almost as if I had run the marathon, except I didn’t have any feeling of accomplishment at the end.

For one thing, it seemed that the characters lacked real development, leaving audiences with inauthentic caricatures that only played into the stereotypes the film was trying to break. Brittany’s (Jillian Bell) character enjoyed some personal growth that gave her character more depth, but many of the supporting characters seemed to be left as superficial, half-finished sketches (such as Gretchen, Brittany’s Instagram-perfect influencer roommate, who is played by Alice Lee and tells Brittany that she’ll always be fat). It is not that the acting was bad. Quite the contrary, actually – I think that the acting was very good, especially Jillian Bell’s work, but the script and disjointed plot did not provide sufficient material for the cast’s talents to shine. On a similar front, Brittany’s get-healthy storyline was, in my opinion, handled in an overall clunky and insensitive manner, providing an inspirational moment at the end when she actually ran the marathon, but in a lot of places failing to deliver the nuances needed to make her character authentic and relatable. Weight and body image are serious issues, and a delicate touch is needed to turn that into comedy while still being real.

However, despite the film’s shortcomings, it managed to deliver a few very relatable scenes. Brittany is crushed when she ends up with a stress fracture just weeks before the New York City Marathon, and although the lead-up to this was rather confusing to me, the aftermath of it will resonate with anyone who has ever been sidelined from an activity due to injury. After moving into her sister and brother-in-law’s basement and lashing out inappropriately at a guest at a birthday party, Brittany realizes that she needs to accept help and support when people offer it, instead of shutting out the world. At the movie’s end, as Brittany finally runs the marathon, it’s hard not cheer for her as she crosses the timing mat after 26.2 miles.

That said, the better scenes of Brittany Runs a Marathon did not, at least for me, outweigh the less-than-great ones, and it won’t be added to my list of favorites.


JM is a dual degree student in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance and the College of Engineering. Some of her favorite things include running, reading, all things creative, and the color purple.

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