Sometimes attending movie festivals, one might expect more of the artsy crowd or taboo subject matter that can be difficult to market. This year, BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON was beyond refreshing, not just in the indie market, but even compared to mainstream cinema. Star Jillian Bell has been on my radar since I first saw her in the underrated 22 Jump Street and was a scene stealer in the Goosebumps movie. She’s been making a name for herself and here we get her front and center. After watching BRITTANY RUNS A MARATHON, all I have to say is that it’s about fucking time.
Brittany is the friend that always brings the laughs when going out to a bar, even if there’s a sense of self-loathing that she never admits. Her confidence act comes to stall when she attempts to get an Adderall prescription from her doctor who sees right through her. Instead, he warns her of her high blood pressure and BMI issues that she needs to take care of as soon as possible. While it’s an initial shock, this leads to her getting motivated to start training to run a marathon. Brittany has a self-awareness that helps her cope with insecurities, but also a mix of friends that serve both as a support system and some who don’t hide their doubts.
What’s refreshing is that Bell brings so much humor to the character that it’s hard not to root for all the goals she reaches, no matter how small they might be. She’s far from perfect as she gets on the defensive side when someone shows they care, but the film allows all the characters to develop and avoids the conventions one might expect. This is by far Bell’s time to shine and best performance to date.