Anna Rose Holmer’s film might make for a strange and intriguing commentary on the coming-of-age genre, or it might not – its subtexts are hidden under a surface so glacially cool and slow that only the most attentive will be able to discern anything there at all. That’s not to say that The Fits isn’t an interesting film, just that it’s also a boring one, and your appreciation of it probably depends on whether or not you find that description to be contradictory.
Eleven-year-old Toni (Royalty Hightower) lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, and regularly trains with her older brother in the boxing gym of the local community centre. Apart from her, the gym is an entirely male domain, in marked contrast to the hall where the dance team practises. There, the older girls drill their protégés in the confrontational, haughty choreography of dance-offs and synchronised athletic displays.
Tough, six-packed little Toni has noticed this troupe, and is drawn to their elaborate practise routines and Mean Girl leaders. After she ditches the boxing gym for the dance floor, though, something inexplicable and sinister starts happening: one by one, the teenage girls start collapsing, suffering from the strange titular fits.
Is it something in the water? Is it a catchable disease – an STI? Is it just adolescence, or womanhood, in allegorical form? Holmer is not only content to leave it entirely unexplained, but to suggest possible interpretations – literal and metaphorical – as faintly as possible. There’s a slightly surreal ending that might reconfigure your reading of The Fits if you watch it again. But will you?
|What||The Fits film review|
|Where||Various Locations | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Leicester Square (underground)|
24 Feb 17 – 24 Apr 17, Times vary
|Price||£determined by cinema|
|Website||Click here for more details|