Review: The Fits – Why is being a teenage girl so traumatic?

Developed and produced through the 2014/15 edition of the Venice Biennale Cinema College program, The Fits is a micro-budget film written, produced and directed by first-timer Anna Rose Holmer. Holmer manages to convey a strange and interesting film into its lean 72-minute runtime that has an abundance of eerie and powerful music. Although I may not have fully understood the film and got slightly lost along the way. The cinematography was mesmerizing which, combined with the minimal dialogue throughout the film made for an atmospheric and abstract film.

The Fits tells the story of Toni, (Royalty Hightower) an 11-year-old tomboy who boxes with her brother. Yet, she shows interest in an all female dance troupe that train in the same community centre. The film sees Toni navigate from child to adolescent whilst simultaneously trying to keep up and fit in with her new group. There is a real sensory experience within the film, that of: looking, listening, moving and dancing, something Hightower captures beautifully. The Fits changes pace when members of the troupe start dropping like flies with the fits. There is little explanation in the film as to why these girls are suffering from fainting spells and epileptic style fits.

Furthermore, I am sure it was purposeful that Holmer leaves so many questions unanswered leaving the audience to think and interpret. This approach is not something I enjoyed and in any case I definitely don’t want a case of the fits. From what I understand, there is a metaphor and symbolic level conveyed within the film of conformity, fitting in and growing up. However, The Fits does celebrate girlhood and all its challenges and that is what I am taking away from the film.

Image courtesy of Lionsgate 

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