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The Fits 

Wednesday, Jun 15 2016
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Anna Rose Holmer's The Fits is the best portrait of female teenage alienation since Eliza Hittman's It Felt Like Love. Toni (Royalty Hightower) is an introverted 11-year-old girl living in the bleak West End of Cincinnati whose social life doesn't extend much beyond training as a boxer with her brother Jermaine (Da'Sean Minor) at the local rec center. She's good at it, but Toni finds her attention wandering as she becomes intrigued with the Lionesses, the resident dance troupe. Soon after she joins the Lionesses and begins ingratiating herself with the other girls — particularly the vivacious Beezy (Alexis Neblett) — a strange affliction begins to affect the squad one at a time: convulsions and fainting spells which are soon referred to as "The Fits." Though a theory that the malady is the result of contaminated drinking water has particular resonance in light of the Flint water crisis, the movie never explains its core mystery, nor does it need to. It would be like offering an intellectual explanation for why adolescence is so difficult, or why it can be so hard to ever truly feel at home. What really matters is Royalty Hightower's mesmerizing and largely non-verbal performance, which fits The Fits like (to use a metaphor far too obvious for this film) a boxing glove.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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