Blerd Film Club: The Fits

We're introduced to Toni, a boxer who trains with her big brother Jermaine at the local rec center. The other girls avoid her because she's a tomboy. Still she's drawn to watch the dance team practice one day. Her big brother suggest she try out, and she does. But she's terrible. Still her dedication gets her noticed by Legs, one of the team captains. She also becomes friends with Beezy and Maia.

During practice Karisma, one of the captains, seemingly has a seizure. Jermaine warns Toni don't get caught up, because Legs and Karisma are crazy. The team is promised she's okay and Legs leads the team, until she too has a seizure. At this point they begin testing the water, however nothing is found.

Despite that, more and more girls begin to have fits, only the girls, and only the girls on the dance team. Toni, Beezy and Maia hear some of the older girls talk about their fits. Later that day Maia reveals that she wants one. Eventually, Maia has a fit. A short while after, Beezy has one. At this point, they aren't even calling the paramedics when the girls have fits.

After becoming an outcast once again we watch Toni make her way to an empty pool. Along the way she skips the boxing gym and dance practice. Her trip to the pool is interlaced and juxtaposed with clips of the dance team and boxing matches. Toni floats across the air, and dances wildly, possibly having a fit as the dance team suddenly watches her float through the air. We're left wondering what really happened at the end.

There isn't a ton of dialogue in the film. That makes the actions of the actors so much more important. Despite nearly everyone on screen being young, they did a great job. It's no wonder Royalty Hightower was chose to lead. If she continues to act, she's going to be incredible one day. I think one of the things that made it work so well is that many of the people in the film aren't actors. The Lionesses, are an actual dance team called the Q-Kidz Dance Team. Da'Sean Minor who portrays Jermaine, is an actual boxer.

One of the things that makes the film great is everything seems so big, even if it isn't. We don't see the water being tested, we see one guy in a hazmat suit and the girls stay away, but it isn't like the building was shut down. Toni hides to change clothes because she's not comfortable changing with the other girls yet, which normal. But, she hides in a stall until everyone leaves the locker roomer. Beezy panics when she pees her pants, it's just what kids do. As an adult, we don't think much of these things. Everything seems chose with care. The entire story takes place inside and outside of one building. Still, it feels like this building is so much bigger than it actually is. It forces you to look at the film with a childlike wonder. Your adult brain instantly says "this is mass hysteria, I remember this from history class." However, when you're forced to look at it as a kid, the whole thing seems almost magical.

One thing that has come up for debate over and over again is what the fits are meant to represent. Some have theorized it represents the sexualization of young girls, the onset of menstruation or the toppling of a patriarchal society. I don't get that at all, perhaps because initially the fits started with older girls, essentially adults. One of which was in the middle of a pregnancy scare. I also didn't get the sexualization of young girls because the film mostly centered on young girls. There were two men in the film, unless you count background actors in the boxing gym. One was Jermaine, Toni's big brother who was only concerned with boxing. The other was Donte, his best friend, and going through a pregnancy scare, but also saw Toni as a little sister. I could be wrong about all of these things of course. Perhaps it's because I'm in a very small minority of the film reviews and theories I could find, I'm a man. Almost no men actually reviewed the film and those that did couldn't be bothered to do more than regurgitate the plot and say "it was great." So I have no idea what other men thought of the film.

For me, I took away something different. Something simpler, peer pressure. Throughout the film we see Toni do a lot of things she doesn't really want to do. She's a boxer, but only because her big brother is a boxer, and he takes care of her until they go home. We see Toni dance and she really does like that. But, she gets a temporary tattoo like the other young dancers. We see her peel it off as soon as she's alone. Toni has her fingernails and toenails painted, like the other dancers. As soon as she's alone, she's scratching off the polish. She gets her ears pierced, and defends it firmly when she's in front of her friends. The moment she's alone she removes the earrings. Toni realizes the fits are just a trend when Maia talks about wanting one more than anything. She has a fit, then Beezy has one. We never witness anyone outside of girls on the team have these fits, starting with the older girls, who are mimicked by the younger girls, who are mimicked by the youngest. We don't see any of the boys have these fits. We don't see any girls outside the team have these fits. We don't even see the adult coaches have these fits. Just the teenage and under girls. Toni is the last girl on the team who has not had a fit. She's ostracized for this. In the final moments of the film we see clips of Toni dancing, boxing, and making her way to the pool, past everyone else. I think the ending is inconclusive. We don't know if Toni really had one of these fits, or she just faked it, to be part of something? Did she simply free herself from the nonsense and decide to just be Toni? 

Again, I could be wrong, some people seemed to have an epiphany. They find what they're looking for in the film. I just feel like sometimes the message, is the simplest one and there isn't a need to keep digging deeper and deeper until something life altering is found. Then again, we can all be right. That's the thing about mysteries. They don't always have a right answer, or even a best answer. Sometimes solving one mystery, just leads to six more. The Fits has no shortage of mysteries. Was it real? Why did it start? Did it really hurt? We'll never know.

Perhaps that's a true testament to how well the film is put together. People drew a lot of conclusions about the film. However, one thing we could all agree on is that the film was amazing from start to finish. It didn't matter if you watch films for the acting, cinematography, story, soundtrack or a combination of all four. When finishing The Fits you'll still walk away happy.

You can check out some of my fiction at 12 AM Fiction or follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast.
Blerd Film Club: The Fits  Blerd Film Club: The Fits Reviewed by Darrell S. on Sunday, February 23, 2020 Rating: 5

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.