A real treat you won’t have to run off, 'Brittany Runs A Marathon' is an absolute must-see.
Based on a true story, 'Brittany' is one of those small, everyday tales that pack a real punch to genuinely connect with audiences. There are several times that it could have veered off into the standard Hollywood formula, to become a standard Hollywood rom-com, but 'Brittany' somehow avoids that trap, while still delivering a soul-satisfying ending. It’s also fudging funny.
Brittany is in her late 20s, parties hard, has vapid friends, a dead-end job, no love life to speak of and is unhealthily overweight. Running changes all of this for the better, and in ways that are relatable and actually grounded in reality. The film also deftly skirts around the is-overweight-necessarily-unhealthy issue, as it is clear that Brittany is very unhealthy on many, many levels. The one hook-up that occurs early in the film is so desperate, so stomach-turning, while remaining a small detail of an act (and completely consensual for those fearing the worst) that the audience needs for her to turn her life around.
Brittany is also pretty unlikable much of the time, which is refreshing, as again the character is realistic, relatable, and flawed. She can be selfish, cruel, dismissive, petulant, rude, and a doormat. She can completely neglect the needs and issues of her friends, so focused is she on her own self-improvement story. For much of the film, her journey is one of doctor-mandated weight loss, with lots of standing on scales showing ever-decreasing numbers. Thankfully, the film doesn’t play into the myth of skinny = happiness for long. Redemption, when it comes, doesn’t make Brittany a supermodel-saint, it makes her a slightly better version of herself, who weighs slightly less, but can run for longer.
Another notable element of the film is its sheer diversity. Brittany, a blond Anglo-American, has an African-American father figure, her bestie is of Asian ancestry, her running buddy is a happily-married gay dad and her eventual co-lead has a South Asian background. But none of the casting is preachy, it simply, again, reflects reality in a big modern city. The good relationships she develops aren’t the Hollywood norm, and her final romantic connection isn’t either – a few feminist one-liners take care of the typical Hollywood ending.
All in all, 'Brittany Runs A Marathon' is a little bit edgy, a little bit subversive, and a hell of a lot of fun. Lace up your sneakers and run to your nearest session.