The new film Brittany Runs a Marathon is about a lady who reduces weight and discovers joy. In an era in which body-positivity activists have been working hard to help females uncouple their sense of self-regard from the numbers on a scale, that's one questionable plot.
It's likewise an over-simplification of the motion picture, which understands the threats of fat fear and body-shaming. Writer-director Paul Downs Collazio consists of scenes and dialogue clearly indicated to challenge the concept that females have to shed pounds in order to discover love and success. That the movie's lead character winds up following that trajectory anyway isn't so much an indictment of Brittany Runs a Marathon as it is a sign of just how tricky it is to navigate the political and personal subject of weight loss.
At the film's outset, Brittany's problem isn't that she's unhappy with her weight specifically; she's dissatisfied with her life. Brittany, played with empathy and wit by Jillian Bell, is a 27-year-old working at a low-paying, dead-end job at a theater. Her social life is a string of late nights and heavy drinking with her New York City roommate, a self-indulgent Instagram influencer. (Is there any other kind?).
Thus lots of people who deal with insecurities, Brittany fractures jokes at her own expenditure so that others do not arrive first.
Brittany is boisterous and outwardly pleasant, and buddies inform her that she's the funniest person they understand. But Bell's subtle hints– a flinch after her roomie's callous remark, a flash of vulnerability in her eyes when a guy flirting with her at a bar turns lewd– let the audience understand that Brittany's humor is a type of self-defense. Like so numerous individuals who deal with insecurities, Brittany cracks jokes at her own expenditure so that others don't get there first.
When she pays a check out to the doctor in an effort to get an illicit Adderall prescription, Brittany's weight emerges as a main plot point. Rather, the physician declares that he's worried about her BMI (an oft-criticized measure of health, for what it's worth), as well as her hypertension and elevated resting heart rate. He advises her to lose between 45 and 55 pounds. "That's the weight of a Siberian husky," Brittany notes wryly. "You want me to pull a medium-sized working pet off of my body.".
The movie is careful to have the physician acknowledge that some individuals are fat because of genetics or thyroid problems, which it's possible to be both fat and healthy. Brittany, however, hasn't been focusing on nutrition and exercise. Therefore, with genuine, relatable worry– exercising in public can be frightening, especially when you have a body that tends to be the target of analysis and criticism– Brittany starts jogging.
From the moment Brittany's sneakers initially touch the pavement, excellent things happen. She signs up with a running group, where she discovers buddies who really appreciate her. They decide to train for the New York City marathon together, an objective that ends up being increasingly significant to Brittany as a sign of her ability to take control of her life. Because she's got to awaken early for runs, she cuts back on the drinking and starts getting more sleep. And to earn more cash for cross-training at the health club and other marathon-related costs, Brittany gets a house-sitting gig– which leads her to a person she's very first aggravated by and then, undoubtedly, drew in to, a directionless charmer called Jern (Utkarsh Ambudkar).
Workout makes our heroine feel stronger, healthier, and more positive: So far, so uncontroversial. However Brittany also becomes visibly slimmer throughout the film, which includes a repeating motif in which her bare feet appear on a digital scale with numbers heading ever-closer to her objective weight. (Bell trained for a marathon in order to get ready for the function, and lost 40 pounds herself while doing so; she wore prosthetics for Brittany's earlier scenes.).
Since we're seeing Brittany through her own unforgiving eyes, the video camera also seems to prompt us to scan Brittany's body for flaws.
In some scenes, Brittany looks in a state of quiet, delighted shock at the image of herself in a top that's now too large for her, extending out the extra fabric. In others, she drops the laundry she's holding to gaze at her mostly-naked body in the mirror, or sits in front of her laptop with her chin slanted to the side, taking selfies of her recently modified jawline.