You can say that Anna Rose Holmer’s film The Fits is a minor movie about a major subject. To disclose what that major subject is would be to spoil the movie’s title, the movie’s dramatic turn, and the movie’s claim to being anything more than an aspirational narrative. What we can say is that The Fits centers on an eleven-year-old girl (Royalty Hightower) who with her brother works as a janitor at a Cincinnati youth center. Her brother practices boxing, she does too. But what she really wants to do is join the girls’ dance team at her school. So she does. And that’s the end of that. What we’ve left out is the twist, which makes The Fits interesting—up to a point. Because it also makes The Fits lacking and anticlimactic. Why The Fits isn’t longer or more elaborate may be a matter of budget, which is understandable. The movie may have been better as a long short rather than as a short feature. Still it towers above other sports films by focusing on the process of training, something taken for granted in many a sport drama. Generally The Fits is short on dialogue, heavy on mood. Its score is anything but overwrought and melodramatic. As it should be, because once you find out what The Fits are, dread and wonder is what you feel.
By Alec Julian & Carrie White