The Fits | Chicago Reader

The Fits

72 minutes 2015

In this debut feature by writer-director Anna Rose Holmer, an 11-year-old tomboy (Royalty Hightower) joins an all-girl dance team at her local community center and watches as a mysterious illness, dubbed "the fits," infects the older girls on the team. The illness seems to be a metaphor for menstruation, and though Holmer never reveals its exact cause, she demonstrates a shrewd understanding of girls’ interior lives. She and cinematographer Paul Yee infuse the community center, in and around which the entire film takes place, with elements of magical realism to accentuate the protagonist's passage from childhood into adolescence. The neutral color palette and the primal motions of the boxing gym, where the girl finds sanctuary, contrast with the garish glitter and ritualistic movement of the dance class, an exercise in feminine conformity.

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