Brittany Runs a Marathon is a bronze medal level movie important just for its attempt to capture real life modern problems. Hats off to Paul Downs Colaizzo’s writing and direction especially since his IMDB page only lists MacGuyver as one of his other writing accomplishments.
Jillian Bell does an excellent job as the lead character, an overweight woman with emotional baggage who leans into unhealthy relationships and behaviors while pushing well meaning people away.
Fortunately, running ends up being her savior of which I can certainly relate. As a 30 plus year runner (two time marathoner Chicago and Myrtle Beach* *Qualifying me for Boston but injury prevented that happening), if I couldn’t run, I’d be a stark raving lunatic. Running is my meditation, my counseling, and my calming influence. To “Brittany Runs a Marathon”‘s credit, even my non-running partner in crime, Jack, teared up at the end of the flick, hence it was moving both literally and figuratively.
Here’s a list of modern day difficulties Colaizzo eloquently displayed:
-Dating: in 2019 it’s damn near impossible to spend time with someone long enough to create intimacy. People are too busy, distracted and easily hiding away in their private lives and devices. An aside, but I say bring back slow dancing as a past-time. Have bars sponsor single nights with big bands playing songs like “It Had to Be You” and “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home To”. Just think of how less awkward dating would be if you had an excuse or reason to get close to someone before the date where you’re ready to strip down to birthday suits. What a cool way to segue to that presently super awkward moment. I digress…
-Another topic is how there are probably many heavy folks who don’t dare start an exercise program for fear of how they “look”. This movie appreciates that scary moment to simply begin. Also how ridiculous fitness center fees are when there’s a beautiful outside that is free to exercise in.
-A third topic tackled here are toxic relationships in that Brittany’s roommate tries to sabotage her attempts at self-improvement. Women, speaking from both sides of personal experience, have a much tougher time supporting another woman’s success. I’ve been guilty from the envy side and also victim of the bulls eye. A great role model of healthy behavior shown recently was Linda Ronstadt in The Sound of My Voice. Linda was super jealous of Emmy Lou Harris, but talked herself down from the roof by saying, I can either hate her for being so good, quit in discouragement or befriend her. Fortunately choosing the latter option, she Emmy and Dolly created an equal to Pavarotti’s Three Tenors.
Beyond Jillian Bell, I’ll acknowledge three other actors who added to the emotional impact: Michaela Watkins ‘the rich person who has problems, too’, Lil Rel Howery as the Bernie Mac-esque mentor, and Utkarsh Ambudkar as Brittany’s romantic crush.
Definitely worth the trip to the semi clean Parkway 8 discount theater!