So, here’s the thing.
The weather and pollution in New Delhi (where I live) were so bad today that the scheduled Sunday long run had to be converted to a session on the treadmill. Feeling very despondent – I’ve been injured, had major medical problems this year, and then there’s Covid – so yes, feeling really despondent, I decided to watch this movie which I’d bookmarked ages ago.
FYI, I’m a runner, a slow marathoner, so this seemed just the ticket.
I remember reading somewhere that “Brittany runs a marathon” was actually filmed during the New York City Marathon, the first non-documentary ever to be shot during the race, and that had piqued my interest.
And it didn’t disappoint.
The film is a nice, easy, engaging watch, as we follow Brittany’s journey – excuse the cliché – from fat to fit. Brittany (Jillian Bell) is 28 years of age, unemployed, overweight – yes, it does sound a little formulaic (and it is). Her doctor tells her she needs to lose weight for her health and, as the title says, she decides to train and run a marathon.
There’s a fairly predictable cast of characters, most of the them likeable: shallow, stick-insect, social-media obsessed girlfriend (actually not at all likeable, come to think of it.)
Slightly bossy neighbour who is a runner, and who turns out to be very nice.
Gay friend. Sweet.
Indian friend. Starts out as a bit of a jerk, but ends up being sweet.
Lovely, kind, long-suffering black brother-in-law.
At times it does seem as though all the ethnic/diverse boxes are being ticked, and that’s absolutely fine. Doesn’t detract from the film at all.
The bit that really moved me – and almost made me choke up, as I slogged away on my treadmill – is the actual marathon itself.
God alone know why, but when I saw Brittany walking into the holding area, with the rows of porta-potties of all things, I had a HUGE wave of nostalgia. I don’t think I realised how much I’d missed racing, these past 2 years.
And then the graphics, as she runs through New York. It reminded me of the similar graphics for the Mumbai Marathon which I’ve run, and that got me all nostalgic, too.
Obviously we all know how the film is going to end, and it’s hardly a spoiler alert to tell you that Brittany does indeed run her marathon, but I found myself cheering her on as I treadmill-ed away, and feeling super happy when she crosses the finish line.
Feel-good movie in an obvious, but still heart-string-tugging way.
You don’t have to be a runner to enjoy it. But I think only runners will actually feel butterflies in their stomach as the countdown takes place.