A married couple is forced to reckon with their idealized image of their son, adopted from war-torn Eritrea, after an alarming discovery by a devoted high school teacher threatens his status as an all-star student.
Hilarious, outgoing and always up for a good time, New Yorker Brittany Forgleris everybody's best friend -- except maybe her own. At 27, her hard-partying ways, chronic underemployment and toxic relationships are catching up with her, but when she stops by a new doctor's office to try to score some Adderall, she gets slapped with a prescription she never wanted: Get healthy. Too broke for a gym and too proud to ask for help, Brit is at a loss, until her seemingly together neighbor Catherine pushes her to lace up her Converse sneakers and run one sweaty block. The next day, she runs two. And soon, after finishing her first mile, she sets an almost unthinkable goal: running in the New York City Marathon.
"Brittany Runs a Marathon" (2019 release; 103 min.) brings the story of Brittany. As the movie opens, it is "Autumn" and we get to know Brittany: she is sleeping in late, she drinks a lot, she parties even more. Then one day at a doctor's appointment, her doctor tells her that as a 28 yr. old, Brittany has "too much body volume" and he orders her to lose 50 pounds. Brittany decides to start running, and before we know it, on a dare, Brittany and several friends decide to train for the New York City marathon... At this point we are 15 min. into the movie, but to tell you more of the plot would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this movie is the feature length debut of writer-director Paul Downs Colaizzo. Here he brings, as it turns out, the real life story of Brittany, an overweight 28 yr. old woman who struggles with self-esteem and finding a general purpose in life. It that sense, the movie is very much reminiscent of Amy Schumer's "Trainwreck" a few years ago. Same theme, same context: "getting one's life in order as a young woman in the 21st century". The movie's chance of success live and die with Jillian Bell's title role performance. She is fabulous, and she frankly carries the movie on her shoulders from start to finish. Even though we have seen her in smaller roles in films like "Office Christmas Party" and "Rough Night", playing Brittany truly is a breakout role for her. SNL alum Michaela Watkins plays Brittany's upstairs seemingly "together" neighbor Catherine with just the right amount of compassion and support as Brittany struggles through her daily grind. Utkarsh Ambudkar as Brittany's accidental roommate/potential romantic interest is outright funny and hilarious.
"Brittany Runs a Marathon" premiered at this year's Sunday film festival to positive acclaim and Amazon Studios immediately picked it up for a staggering $14 million. The movie finally made it into US theaters this weekend. The Friday evening screening where I saw this at was not attended all that well (about 10 people). Maybe this will find a wider audience as it is released on other platforms. Regardless, if you are interested in the life and struggles of a 28 yr. old woman in New York as she pursues personal happiness, or simply are a fan of Jillian Bell, I'd readily suggest you check this out, be it in the theater, on VOD or eventually on DVD/Blu-ray, and draw your own conclusion.
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