Thursday, September 8, 2016
THE FITS (2016)
Directed By: Anna Rose Holmer
Story By: Saela Davis, Anna Rose Holmer & Lisa Kjerulff
Cinematography By: Paul Yee
Editor: Saela Davis
Cast: Royalty Hightower, Alexis Neblett, Makyla Burnam, Da’Sean Minor, Lauren Gibson
*Please note that some trivia and facts have been republished from imdb among other sources In this review
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, Toni's desire for acceptance is twisted.
This production of this film was entirely funded through grants.
The opening images and scene immediately grabs our attention. It isn't necessarily involve what the film is is about at first but the character is introduced to the audience in that way and she stays with us throughout.
The film has it's own mysticism
The entire cast was given the opportunity to add, delete, or change dialogue in the script.
This one of those confusing films, that is cerebral and very open To interpretation while being relateable. The film never offers a clear definition which might keep some people from truly appreciating this film.
As the film Goes along it always grabs the audience’s attention as we are never quite sure what to expect.
The director definitely has a style that makes all of the framing and camerawork seem perfect revealing and planned out.
As the film has minimal dialogue and instead tells the story through action and defines the characters more from Moments and usually from reactions and body language of the actors. Which is no small feat considering most of the cast is made up of teenagers and children. The few adult characters are usually never given a close-up or really In focus so like they might be for children they are so defined in their roles that to children who are still children and growing and have the possibilities to change they are out of focus for them. As children focus on so many things. The cast is made up of Non-professional newcomers which gives the film a raw edge
This movie stars a real drill team and was filmed in Cincinnati, Ohio. They were given part Ownership of the film
Each of the "fits" were choreographed separately, and performed in front of the cast for the first time on the day of shooting.
What really is noteworthy is that the film has a haunting feel about it. It can at times come off as scary though remains a mystery throughout. Never quite clearly defined, yet we in the audience can be ok with that. As it still manages to tell a story.
The title rightly is what describes the phenomena that goes on with these girls as they are slowly stricken with what seems like seizures, but while scary st first come to embrace as soon it also seems like a rite of passage for the group. As noticeably none of the boys are victims of this. As the film shows our main character coming into her femininity as earlier we see her surrounded by her brother and his male friends at the boxing gym. This film could easily be a metaphor for girls turning into women and beginning their menstrual cycle. As it does require a physical change that can be quite scary and dramatic. Then after you might feel different more adult and look at those around you who haven't experienced it as outsider, not as mature still children. Which would explain the characters sudden feelings of exclusion after slowly bonding with the group and after some got through the change she is given the cold shoulder.
Just as the characters develop their roles here and are going through a mysterious change. We see Toni’s character played by Royalty Hightower develop in her dancing skills as at first she is horrible but throughout finally begins to get her footing.
Though the film deals with the subject in a vivid way visually. It also feels kind of clinical as there are emotions involved yet the film never had a warmness. For a coming of age story it is a revelation as usually most films of the genre go for nostalgia or some kind of warmth and sweetness somewhere in the story or are hair a series of calamities and here it presents something identifiable as well as mysterious. Though still making us care about the characters.
The ending is mysterious as it can be interpreted in many different ways
The film offers shots of reality and the beauty of everyday shape the world around the lead. This is her normal but the directors still manage to make it seem new and mysterious. Like we are traveling a land we have never been accustomed to. Though also manage to make it seem otherworldly, mysterious and magical. Which is a feat in of itself. As the movie moves along. You are always questioning as these seizures come along and surprise the characters and audience. This throws us off as to what might happen or can happen in a moments notice. Never scary but keeps things fascinating
As I am not quite sure once she is supposedly struck with her seizure of it was real or was she faking it to fit in. As it seems like she is having visions of a perfect future and fitting in and floating, but her fit is remarkably different then the others as hers is more a dance. Where as the other girls always seems looks they were in the middle of a dance when struck and then a full on seizure like they were possessed. So the ending is kind of ambiguous.
The film is thought provoking and strangely short. Which is only a relief as since the films rests on only this plot thread there are only so many places to go before the film becomes repetitive and dull. As it already feels like a stretch to a degree at times.