The Fits Movie Review
The Fits is the kind of movie I hate to write reviews about: as a beautifully shot, scored and executed as it is, I have no freaking idea what the movie is actually about. I want to praise it because it’s actually somewhat mesmerizing—almost hypnotic in nature—and yet it fails two of my three basic criteria for what makes a good film:
Would I recommend it to friends? No, because they’d hate me for it.
Would I watch it again? No.
But despite those two answers, when I pose the third question that makes up my elaborate film quality matrix—Was I entertained?—the answer is “yes” or “sort of” or “I don’t know because I don’t know what I just watched” and “dammit, sure.”
The Fits is about a young girl who trains in the boxing ring with her older brother. But drawn by the prospects of fitting in with older, cooler girls, she joins a dance squad, applying her skills as a boxer to the frenetic dance routines.
The weird part: the girls begin to suffer from strange fainting spells and seizures, or “fits.”
When I re-read the synopsis for The Fits, I sort of understand what the movie is about: it’s a coming-of-age story about a girl just trying to fit in, no matter what. The final scene brings this to life quite well. The rest of the movie? Well, let’s move on.
The real strength of The Fits is not in the story, per se, but in everything else:
- Director Anna Rose Holmer has made an absolutely beautiful-looking movie, despite much of the film taking place inside a community gym.
- The score is gripping, arguably groundbreaking and is what makes the film—though you could argue that Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans create a false sense of importance by applying such music to completely insignificant moments.
- Young actress Royalty Hightower barely utters a word but commands every scene she is in, delivering a finely nuanced performance you rarely see from a person her age.
Because of these three elements, I was enthralled by The Fits for a while, curious as to where it would go or what it all meant. And then I started laughing, wondering when I would figure it out, and then, finally, even though the movie is only 70 minutes long, I began to lose interest as I realized there wasn’t anything more to the film.
The Fits is a curious experiment, a piece of art if you will, but it’s a little too strange to recommend or even truly appreciate.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.