Brittany Runs a Marathon

Brittany Runs a Marathon is a 2019 American comedy film written and directed by Paul Downs Colaizzo, in his directorial debut. It stars Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lil Rel Howery, and Micah Stock. The film follows an overweight woman in New York City who sets out to lose weight and train for the city's annual marathon.

Brittany Runs a Marathon
Theatrical release poster
Directed byPaul Downs Colaizzo
Produced by
Written byPaul Downs Colaizzo
Music byDuncan Thum
CinematographySeamus Tierney
Edited byCasey Brooks
  • Material Pictures
  • Picture Films
Distributed byAmazon Studios
Release date
  • January 28, 2019 (2019-01-28) (Sundance)
  • August 23, 2019 (2019-08-23) (United States)
Running time
103 minutes
CountryUnited States
Box office$7.4 million[1][2]

It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 28, 2019 and was released on August 23, 2019, by Amazon Studios.


Brittany Forgler is a 28-year-old living in New York City with her roommate Gretchen, a teacher's assistant dreaming of social media fame. Employed as a greeter at an off-Broadway theater, Brittany is an overweight hard partier who abuses Adderall. Visiting a new doctor to score a prescription, she receives unwelcome news; she must get healthy and lose weight. She visits a nearby gym only to find even the cheapest fee is out of her reach. Despite her fear, she tries running for the first time, successfully running one block. She is invited to run in a group with her neighbor Catherine, whom Brittany detests for her seemingly perfect life. Sucked into another night of partying by Gretchen, Brittany arrives for the group run and meets Seth, another struggling runner, learning they have equal goals. Brittany, Seth, and Catherine bond and, after a 5K run, set the ultimate goal: running in the New York City Marathon.

Interviewing for a live-in nanny position, Brittany instead gets referred for a second job as a pet sitter. On her first day, she meets fellow pet sitter Jern, who is essentially living in the house against the rules. After a falling out with her roommate, Gretchen, over her changing lifestyle, Brittany moves into the house as well, bonding with Jern over their stalled lives. Seth and Catherine's predictions that Brittany will have sex and fall in love with Jern eventually come true.

Brittany gets within five pounds of her goal of losing 45 pounds. Unable to win a place in the marathon through a lottery, as Seth does, her only hope is to raise enough money for a charity. At Catherine's divorce party, she informs Brittany that she often raises a lot of money for a favorite charity, and offers to have $5000 donated in her name so Brittany can run in the marathon. Brittany's pride, and continued reluctance to let Catherine into her life, force her to turn down the offer, and she leaves. She regains weight, forcing her to run even harder, until one of her shins becomes too painful to walk on. Five weeks from the marathon, her doctor informs her she has a stress fracture and will be unable to run for six to eight weeks.

Dejected, Brittany returns to the dog-sitting house and discusses the state of her life with Jern. The homeowners return and, disgusted Jern and Brittany have been living there, fire them. Brittany takes a bus to Philadelphia to visit her sister Cici and brother-in-law Demetrius, who was a father figure to Brittany after their parents' divorce and father's death. She ignores calls and texts from Catherine, Seth, and Jern, saddened to see Seth and Catherine with their marathon medals. That same day, she disrupts Demetrius's birthday party by making comments about an overweight female guest. After a stern but heartfelt talk with Demetrius, Brittany returns to New York and her former apartment, now alone as Gretchen is living with her on-and-off boyfriend Terrence. She applies for advertising jobs, for which she trained initially, and lands an entry-level position in Tribeca.

Catherine reveals that running was a distraction from her nasty divorce, explaining that years ago, she broke her wrist and was prescribed Oxycodone, which her husband did not believe she should have. He discovered she was taking it anyway, using that fact to deny her visitation rights to their children. Brittany encourages her to take small steps to win her children back, and sets boundaries with Jern to simply be friends.

One year later, Brittany runs in the marathon. At the 22-mile mark, she develops a cramp and has to pause. She rejects medical assistance, but accepts an assistant's offer to help her up. While considering quitting, she finds Seth, his husband and sons, and Catherine in the crowd cheering her on. She also encounters Jern, who says he loves her. She then keeps going, finishing the marathon.

An epilogue reveals Brittany and Jern living together as a couple, but she does not want to marry him despite his suggestion. She kisses him, and leaves the house to go on a run.



The story of Brittany was inspired by Colaizzo's roommate, Brittany O'Neill, who appears in photos before the end credits.[3]

In November 2017, it was announced Jillian Bell, Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lil Rel Howery, Micah Stock and Alice Lee would star in the film, with Paul Downs Colaizzo directing from a screenplay he wrote. Tobey Maguire, Matthew Plouffe, Margot Hand, will serve as producers on the film, under their Material Pictures and Picture Films banners, respectively. Bell, Downs Colaizzo, and Richard Weinberg will serve as executive producers.[4] Jolian Blevins and Padraic Murphy served as co-producer and associate producer, respectively.[5]


Principal photography began in October 2017, in New York City.[6] The climactic scene was filmed during the 2017 New York City Marathon, with three filming crews working simultaneously to cover various stages of the race.[7]


It had its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival on January 28, 2019.[8][9] Shortly after, Amazon Studios acquired worldwide distribution rights to the film for $14 million.[10] It was released on August 23, 2019.[11]


Box officeEdit

The film made $175,969 from five theaters in its opening weekend, an average of $35,194 per venue.[12] The final worldwide box office gross was $7.4 million.[1]

Critical responseEdit

On Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 88% based on 180 reviews, with an average rating of 7.28/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Brittany Runs a Marathon is an earnest and hilarious dramedy that finally gives Jillian Bell a role worthy of her gifts."[13] On Metacritic, the film had a weighted average score of 72 out of 100, based on reviews from 33 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews."[14]

Dennis Harvey of Variety magazine wrote, "This terrifically engaging debut feature by playwright Paul Downs Colaizzo is the best kind of “crowdpleaser”: one that earns every emotional beat that might seem formulaic in four out of five similar enterprises."[15]


Award[a] Date of ceremony[b] Category Recipient(s) Result Ref.
Casting Society of America 30 January 2020 Studio or Independent – Comedy Brittany Runs a Marathon Nominated [16]
GLAAD Media Award 30 July 2020 Outstanding Film – Limited Release Nominated [17]
Hollywood Critics Association 9 January 2020 Best First Feature Nominated [18]
São Paulo International Film Festival 30 October 2019 Best Film Nominated
Satellite Awards 1 March 2020 Best Television Film Nominated [19]
Sundance Film Festival 24 January - 3 February, 2019 The Audience Award: U.S. Dramatic Won [20]
Grand Jury Prize Nominated


  1. ^ Awards, festivals and organizations are in Alphabetical order.
  2. ^ Date is linked to the article about the awards held that year, wherever possible.


  1. ^ a b "Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  2. ^ "Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)". The Numbers. Retrieved November 6, 2019.
  3. ^ Thorp, Charles (August 21, 2019). "The Real Runner Behind 'Brittany Runs a Marathon'". Runner's World. Retrieved September 7, 2019.
  4. ^ N'Duka, Amanda (November 22, 2017). "Jillian Bell To Star In 'Brittany Runs A Marathon'; Michaela Watkins, Utkarsh Ambudkar & Lil Rel Howery Also Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  5. ^ "Brittany Runs A Marathon (2019) - Full Cast & Crew - IMDb". Retrieved January 31, 2019.
  6. ^ "Brittany Runs a Marathon". Production List. 2017-10-16. Retrieved April 23, 2018.
  7. ^ Miller, Jen A. (2019-08-30). "How Brittany Ran Her 'Marathon' With 50,000 Extras". New York Times. Retrieved September 15, 2019.
  8. ^ Debruge, Peter (November 28, 2018). "Sundance Film Festival Unveils 2019 Features Lineup". Variety. Retrieved November 28, 2018.
  9. ^ "Brittany Runs a Marathon". Sundance Film Festival. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
  10. ^ Siegel, Tatiana (January 30, 2019). "Sundance: Amazon Buys 'Brittany Runs A Marathon' for $14 Million". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved January 30, 2019.
  11. ^ Vlessing, Etan (April 24, 2019). "Amazon's 'Brittany Runs a Marathon' Gets Summer Release Date". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved April 24, 2019.
  12. ^ D'Alessandro, Anthony (August 25, 2019). "'Angel Has Fallen' Still Ascending Close To 'London' With $20M; Tarantino's 'Hollywood' Beating 'Basterds' – Saturday AM B.O." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  13. ^ "Brittany Runs a Marathon (2019)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  14. ^ "Brittany Runs a Marathon". Metacritic. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  15. ^ Dennis Harvey (Jan 30, 2019). "Sundance Film Review: 'Brittany Runs a Marathon'". Variety.
  16. ^ "Artios Awards: 'Hustlers,' 'Knives Out,' 'Rocketman' Among Casting Society Film Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. 1 January 2020. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  17. ^ "GLAAD Media Awards: 'Booksmart,' 'Bombshell,' 'Rocketman' Among Nominees". The Hollywood Reporter. 8 January 2020. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  18. ^ "The 3rd Annual Hollywood Critics Association Awards Nominations". Hollywood Critics Association. 25 November 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  19. ^ "Nominees for the 24th Annual Satellite Awards, celebrating achievements in Film, Television". Film festivals. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  20. ^ "Sundance: 'Clemency' Wins Dramatic Grand Jury Prize". The Hollywood Reporter. 2 February 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2020.
  21. ^ "2019 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL AWARDS ANNOUNCED". Sundance Film Festival. 3 February 2019. Retrieved 6 August 2020.

External linksEdit