The Fits



Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 97%
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 63%
IMDb Rating 6.7 10 3196


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September 15, 2016 at 08:05 PM


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1hr 12 min
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23.976 fps
1hr 12 min
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Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Movie_Muse_Reviews 8 / 10

A noticeably impressive portrait of a girl on the verge of her teenage years

A Cincinnati community center sees a sudden epidemic of incidents in which teenage girls start fainting and convulsing in Anna Rose Holmer's "The Fits," yet "science fiction" or "supernatural" are two words that belong nowhere near this film. Instead, Holmer uses this conceit as a tool in her 72-minute portrait of a tween girl finding her way socially and emotionally.

So little of "The Fits" counts toward plot or action that you might wonder why Holmer "dragged out" what feels more obviously like short film material into a feature. Yet her patience and artistry pay dividends, at least for the open-minded viewer. The camera pierces a further layer of its subject's —11-year-old Toni — psychology, allowing the viewer to enter deeper into her point of view.

Newcomer Royalty Hightower would obviously be a candidate to get credit for achieving such a high degree of empathy, but in actuality, it's Holmer's exceptional focus on Hightower. Her conscientious effort to tell the subtext of Toni's story more than anything else results in a film that speaks rather poetically to adolescence and self-discovery.

Toni is a determined girl who understands the importance of working hard more than most. She goes with her brother to the community center each day to train and learn how to box, but she's transfixed by the girls upstairs in the Lioness dance troupe. We immediately see both the committed, tireless side of Toni and the side of her that longs to be a dancer, and so it's clear that she can dance if that's what she desires most.

The premise of a girl boxer wanting to be a dancer is a refreshing subversion of gender role archetypes, and a gentle way for Holmer and co-writers Saela Davis and Lisa Kjeruiff to let viewers know that gender identity/roles are not a focal point of their story. This is a film about a girl finding herself, period.

We get all these long, lingering, quiet moments alone with Toni in order to really experience how she deals with the emotional storm of her own desires, social pressure and the fear and panic induced by this outbreak of "fits." And there's nothing particular unique in how she copes, which is what makes accessing her consciousness, as the viewer, so effortless. The power of this particular film comes from that experience.

All that said, it's hard not to wish that there had been just a few more external factors to add tension and drama to this story, especially with a premise that could've so easily gone that route. Kudos to Holmer committing to her cinematic portrait and not caving to more typical movie conventions, but something to hook the viewer a little more would have elevated her impressive artistry.

The average moviegoer won't likely stumble upon "The Fits," so there's not a whole lot of danger in it being misunderstood and dismissed for leaning more heavily toward poetry than entertainment, but perhaps that "supernatural" premise warrants a bit of a disclaimer. Go in looking to experience what it's like to be 11 again, however, and you'll be floored by what Holmer has accomplished.

~Steven C

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Reviewed by Granger 4 / 10

It's Just a Shame...

I always find it somewhat of a shame when a movie that has everything going for it falls flat on its face. That's what happens in "The Fits". The description here on IMDb properly describes the movie. Unfortunately the movie itself does little more to take it beyond that description.

The directing and acting is excellent, especially by lead actor Royalty Hightower. She is not alone, backed up by some excellent casting for the parts of her best friend and her brother.

Were this a simple slice-of-life movie it would be acceptable and interesting. But it doesn't qualify as such. It takes the viewer down a specific road of semi-realistic insight into the life of a black adolescent girl, then throws that all out the window with what can only be described as a plunge into script-writing and directing self-indulgence. I always wonder how so many people can be involved in creating a work like this without someone stepping up and saying, "Hey, has anyone noticed the plot line stinks?" At the end, the viewer is left asking, "What was that supposed to be all about?". The result is a mixture of enjoyment, shock and disappointment as we realize yet another movie with potential has been flippantly cast to the canines.

Yes, pun intended. You'll need some humor after watching this.

Reviewed by subxerogravity 6 / 10

Somewhere between Girl Fight and Bring It On lies the Fits, that fits perfectly

In a reverse of your typical stereotypes, main protagonist Toni is a girl who actually starts out as a boxer (in training, mostly so that her boxing brother can keep an eye on her while he trains) decides to make a switch to the all-girl dance team that practices next door. It's a great coming-of-age story about a girl trapped in a bubble she needs to pop.

When I saw the trailer, I noticed that the lead actress playing Toni is getting mad props for her performance, which she does deserve, but I also fell in love with the performance of the supporting actress whose plays Breezy, the friend that Toni makes when she joins the dance crew. The entire relationship was done simple and natural and yet sends a powerful message on friendship. Watching both of these young black actresses on the screen sharing scenes together made the movie for me.

There was a big metaphor in the movie that I did not fully understand about the girls having seizures because of contaminated water, it has something to do with fitting in but I'm not fully sure.

Otherwise, I absolutely enjoined this movie, especially the chemistry between the two young actors

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