“Captivating, magnetic, eerie, and kinetic”
Title: The Fits (2015)
Director: Anna Rose Holmer 👩🏼🇺🇸
Writers: Saela Davis 👩🏽🇺🇸, Anna Rose Holmer 👩🏼🇺🇸, and Lisa Kjerulff 👩🏻🇺🇸
Reviewed by Li 👩🏻🇺🇸
Captivating, magnetic, eerie, and kinetic. This film blends so many genres and identities that you have no idea what you’re watching or where it will lead, but you don’t care because the percussive heartbeat of the soundtrack draws you in, and the halting, roaring dancers are a visual feast that bypass your brain to deliver a story straight to your gut.
I’d score this 5/5 but I’m removing half a point to compromise with average critics’ scores: 8/10 at Rotten Tomatoes and 91 at Metacritic.
Does it pass the Bechdel Test? YES
Having a trio of ethnically diverse, female filmmakers was always going to make this category a doozy. Young women make up the majority of the cast as The Fits features a real-life Cincinnati dance troupe. Men make a solid appearance as well, in the form of Toni (played by Royalty Hightower)’s brother and gym friends who converse with such realism, it’s almost voyeuristic.
As for the portrayal of these young women, Toni’s maturation into adolescence emerges with beautiful complexity. She’s a tomboy but loves sequined dance uniforms; she covets earrings and glitter nail polish, but her nickname is “Guns” and when she’s unhappy, she takes her aggression out on punching bags. The Fits effortlessly portrays an 11-year old girl, recognizing her opposing energies and celebrating how they mix as she develops.
This film is made up of a nearly all-black cast, which is believable in Cincinnati where black residents made up 45% of the population in 2010* but is also one of the most segregated cities in America.**
Besides its demographic accuracy, any film we review at Mediaversity that portrays a minority perspective will score well in this category since our goal is to highlight underrepresented voices in media.
Mediaversity Grade: A (4.83/5)
The Fits is an artistic, suspenseful trip to somewhere surreal yet bone-deep. We feel its primal ties to actual episodes of mass “fits” that have swept through communities since medieval times to as recently as the 1990s, and both this history as well as the gritty, desaturated cinematography lends the film an air of mystical gravity.
Meanwhile, the notion of “diversity” is simply an aside where The Fits happens to be inclusive of young, black women. The true journey transcends the trappings of our skins and bodies.