The Fits05 Jun 2016
Black women, especially in film, do a lot of emotional work. They are either old, wise, compassionate, stern and respected or young and hyper-sexual. Black girls, the rare times when they are the focal point of a story, are rarely given the kind of complete characterization that Toni, the protagonist of The Fits is given. Writer, director and producer Anna Rose Holmer has created a beautiful story about the end of adolescence, the resilience of minority communities (I wonder if she had the Flint lead water disaster in mind while making the film), gender and family. There is so much to love about this film and so much to be excited for future work from a vibrant new voice.
The Fits is as much “about” the end of adolescence with the arrival of menstruation or impending adulthood as It Follows is about scaring teenagers away from sex. Though, the two films have a lot in common. An off-screen monster as a central character. Both use the tools of horror and thriller to great effect, It Follows more directly than The Fits. Both are centered in the midwest, although The Fits is more bullish on the role of community in a city like Cincinnati while It Follows depicted suburban Detroit as a city largely devoid of community. The biggest departure, though, is the single location conceit and the depth of emotion afforded to the central characters.
Much like It Follows was one of my favorite independent films of 2015, The Fits is one of my favorites of 2016.