Small time films stepping up their game.

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The Fits
 is a psychological portrait of 11-year-old Toni-a tomboy assimilating to a tight-knit dance team in Cincinnati’s West End. Enamored by the power and confidence of this strong community of girls, Toni eagerly absorbs routines, masters drills, and even pierces her own ears to fit in. When a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team, Toni’s desire for acceptance is twisted.

I came across this film completely by accident. I heard about it along the grapevine and the film popping up on my radar hear and then, especially when the Venice and Sundance Film Festivals came and went.

This film reminds me of a few films, including that of Michelle Rodriguez’s “Girl Fight” and Kirsten Dunst in “Bring It On” though it takes elements of these films, as well as others, and turns it on its head. It’s about finding your place int he world and where you may “fit” essentially, where neither one or maybe a little of both is the best. Either way it’s a coming of age story at its best.

The performances of the film are natural, fresh, and uniquely honest. Royalty Hightower, who plays the lead of Toni, deserves all the recognition for her brilliant and almost dialogue-less performance. Her friendship with friend Breezy when she joins the dance crew is believably natural and simple, showing the audience a powerful message of friendship.

This was the biggest thing for me about the film as the seizure’s aspect of the film and it’s bigger meaning not entirely making sense. This and the fact that it’s a film with a lead female protagonist who is a person of colour that is actually given a character arc, unlike a lot of films in most recent years that have hardly anything for the female gender whatsoever let alone someone of colour. Television has been more ambitious in recent years but the film aspect really needs to step up their game.

The most promising thing that director Anna Rose Holmer has is her ability to tell a story with minimal dialogue and entirely through the visual medium cinema is. I look forward to what else she produces in the future.

Film-O-Meter: 8/10.

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