The Fits is a psychological portrait of 11-year-old Toni-a tomboy assimilating to a tight-knit dance team in Cincinnati's West End. Enamored by the power and confidence of this strong community of girls, Toni eagerly absorbs routines, masters drills, and even pierces her own ears to fit in. When a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells plagues the team, without explanation or any noticeable cause Toni must decide if her desire to be accepted is worth the risk.
For a first feature, director Anna Rose Holmer has created something truly wonderful. I saw The Fits week ago and to be honest I'm still processing it.
On face value this is a fairly standard 'coming of age' tale. Toni's lure form the boxing gym to the dance team highlighting the desire of this young girl to be accepted by her peers. Her first entry into the dance troupe realm is wonderfully awkward and withdrawn but as the film progresses her confidence grows and she begins to become stronger and more determined to succeed as the film progresses.
Once the siezures begin to manifest within the team the film takes on a new twist. The audience is given little explanation as to their cause. Contaminated water is a possible suspect and yet all the within the boxing gym remain unscathed.
Toni watches as team members lurch, fit and tremble as the fits take hold. Partly curious and partly secretly desiring the onset of the fits herself, Toni is entranced by their power and their effect on the team around her.
The Fits asks what is it like to long for acceptance within a group? What is it like to be on the fringes of peers, or in Toni's case, caught between two different groups (the gym and the team). Do we place higher value acceptance over enjoyment?
The Fits asks all these questions and leaves the viewer to determine the answers. So often we desire definitive answers and resolutions but none are to be found here. That is a bold move, particularly in a debut film.
Beautifully shot and focused not only on its star but on her teenage world and its issues, The Fits is a fascinating piece of work that I still ponder and wish to fully process.
By the end of year I expect to still be thinking about this film and wrestling with its message. Royalty Hightower is a star in the making and Anna Rose Holmer is a director I want to see more from already. A definite recommendation and already a contender for film of the year!
The Fits is available on DVD/ Blu ray from 20th March.