Jury Coordination and Notes

Marathon * Surprisingly Fun And Engaging Satire Of Documentaries

An unprofessional documentary film crew follows five amateur runners as they train for Devil’s Canyon Marathon, an offbeat desert race organized by Ed Clap, a desperate shoe store owner pulling out all the stops to celebrate its fifteenth year. KIDS FIRST! Film Critic Calista B. comments, “surprisingly fun and engaging satire of documentaries.” See her full review below.

By Calista B., KIDS FIRST! Film Critic, Age 17

Marathon is a mockumentary that follows four people training for a marathon, and the highs and lows they face in the months leading up to the big day. This movie is a surprisingly fun and engaging satire of documentaries—it really subverted my expectations.

Marathon recreates the style of documentaries, pretty accurately. At times you forget that this is a parody, not an actual documentary film. However, the purposefully unprofessional nature becomes clear every now and again. One example is that the characters occasionally reference the fact that they are being filmed. I especially like how Ryan, one of the runners we follow, builds up a sort of rivalry with his assigned cameraman, Jeff. As such, he directly insults and complains about his cameraman, breaking the fourth wall. To me, this is one of the funniest bits in the movie.

Speaking of comedy, Marathon has a very interesting style of humor. Most of the humor comes from the ridiculousness of the situations, while the characters take everything incredibly seriously, which I love. This comedic style is very appealing to me. For example, the character of Jenna Kowalski wants to break a world record by running the marathon in a fruit costume. And she, as well as the people in her life, do not seem to understand the inherent silliness that comes from this idea. However, I think my favorite running joke in this movie comes from Emilou Paunch, one of the runners. Or at least, she would be, except she decides to quit after realizing how long the marathon would be. Despite this, the camera people still follow her around and film her life while she does incredibly mundane things. The contrast between Emilou’s subplot and the rest of the subplots is brilliant, and I love every second she’s on screen. However, I will say that I think the screen time between each runner is extremely unbalanced – specifically with Shareef. In comparison to the other four, it feels like he has almost no development, due to how short his scenes are.

The message of this film is that sometimes your plans don’t work out the way you hoped. I do have to warn viewers, though: there is quite a bit of swearing, and there are many inappropriate jokes definitely not suitable for younger audiences.

I give Marathon 4 out of 5 stars and recommend it for ages 15 to 18. It comes out on July 6, 2021.

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