January 5, 2020 – This inspired-by-a-true-story (pictures of the real Brittany are shown at the end of this film) movie about a woman trying to get her life in order by running, is as much about an emotional journey as it is about her journey from being overweight and flabby to being in shape to run a marathon.
Brittany Forgler (played by Jillian Bell) is a woman with emotional and physical problems. When her doctor tells her she has high blood pressure and she needs to lose 50 pounds, she ends up running to lose the weight. She finds a couple of running partners who help motivate her. One is Seth (Micah Stock of “Bonding”) and another is Catherine, Brittany's physically fit neighbor who is running to take her mind off a difficult divorce.
Seth and Brittany are both very slow runners, while Catherine is much faster, but she needs the emotional support provided by the other two runners in the trio. Brittany has a tendency to push other people away, so she doesn't provide much emotional support for Seth and Catherine at first. She has to deal with her inner demons first.
Brittany's emotional journey is slow and painful. As the three continue to run, they all agree upon the same goal, to enter the New York City Marathon and finish the race. In order to pay the entrance fee for the race, Brittany takes an extra job, taking care of a dog for a family going on vacation. She discovers that Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar of “Pitch Perfect”) the night shift dog sitter, has moved into the house and is living there, against the rules of the pet sitting service they work for.
Jern appears to be a slacker who is drifting along in his life, accomplishing almost nothing, not all that different from Brittany herself who has abandoned her own career goals. Despite their differences, Brittany and Jern eventually drift together and become lovers, but Brittany is determined not to marry Jern.
Brittany loses a lot of weight and becomes a much better endurance runner, but her personal life implodes with one crisis after another. Eventually, she leaves New York and moves back to live with her stepfather, Demetrius (Lil Rel Howery of “Get Out”). When Brittany insults a guest at Demetrius' birthday party, he talks to her about facing her emotional problems.
You can probably guess the ending, but I'll not give it away. This movie is not about the destination. It is about the journey, and it is a long, painful one that is a lot more complicated than just losing weight and running the distance, although that is hard enough.
At nearly two and a half hours, this is a long film, but strong acting and well-drawn, realistic, complex, interesting characters make the story worth following. This film rates a B.
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