This mesmerizing piece of fictional portraiture is so marvelously acted and beautifully cinematic that it feels not just like a documentary, but real life.
The Fits begins with minimal dialogue and a strong soundscape, contrasting female dancers and male boxers sharing different parts of a gym. The main character, a young girl with braids, transitions from her brother’s boxing world where we see her doing pull-ups with a split lip to emulating the older girls upstairs.
Nearly every character is black and young, and all of them — especially the leads — show incredible poise and dexterity in their roles.
Oh, and there’s a scene of young black girls dancing in an empty pool, a la Beyonce’s now-iconic “Formation” music video.
It’s particularly challenging for a piece that focuses at least initially on a low-stakes internal conflict — to box or to dance — with thin dialogue to remain captivating. The Fits succeeds effortlessly. This isn’t a stereotypical poverty/projects sob story or a rags-to-riches sort of tale; it’s just a slice of life in a relatively brief span of time, a short witness to childhood. It’s wonderful and moving, and if that weren’t enough to hold audience’s attention, there’s a mysterious twist that haunts the latter half of the film.
The Fits screens on April 12 at 4:30 p.m. and April 15 at 7:30 p.m. at A/perture 2, and on April 17 11:30 a.m. at UNCSA Gold.
— Eric Ginsburg
Join the First Amendment Society, a membership that goes directly to funding TCB‘s newsroom.
We believe that reporting can save the world.
The TCB First Amendment Society recognizes the vital role of a free, unfettered press with a bundling of local experiences designed to build community, and unique engagements with our newsroom that will help you understand, and shape, local journalism’s critical role in uplifting the people in our cities.
All revenue goes directly into the newsroom as reporters’ salaries and freelance commissions.