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film review

Jillian Bell stars in Brittany Runs a Marathon.Courtesy of Elevation Pictures

  • Brittany Runs a Marathon
  • Written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo
  • Starring Jillian Bell
  • Classification R
  • 104 minutes


3.5 out of 4 stars

At Sundance this year, Brittany Runs a Marathon was the low-budget indie film that could, sparking a US$14-million bidding war, eventually won by Amazon Studios. They made a wise investment – writer/director Paul Downs Colaizzo has crafted a relatable and moving dramatic comedy about an overweight woman named Brittany (Jillian Bell) who gains control over her life by running.

Things other studios might frown upon are its greatest strengths, including a charming ensemble of actors often relegated to bit roles (Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lil Rel Howery and Micah Stock are all fantastic), frank vérité-style cinematography and intimate storytelling.

Bell draws laughter and tears out of her character’s indignities but also invests us greatly in her desire to change her own life. In a summer full of action movies and retreads, the vulnerable power of Brittany is irresistible; I started running the next day.

Brittany Runs a Marathon opens Aug. 30.