The Gender Dynamics of Dancing and Boxing Converge in The Fits

Oh wow, welcome to one of the most exciting trailers this year, for The Fits, a film starring ten-year-old Royalty Hightower and directed by Anna Rose Holmer that wowed Sundance audiences, for fairly obvious reasons.

Hightower portrays Toni, a powerful tween boxer training at her brother’s gym in West Cincinnati, who becomes mesmerized with the dance troupe working out next door. According to the synopses, she joins them and, as she surrounds herself with women and gender imperatives for the first time, “grapples with her individual identity amid her newly defined social sphere.”

Co-written by Holmer, Saela Davis and Lisa Kjerulff—who just landed the cover of Filmmaker magazine—there’s something wholly filling just watching the imagery in this little taste, and the critics who saw it went wild, as the trailer indicates. The New York Times’s Manohla Dargis, who’s usually a pretty good gauge of such topics, wrote:

Beat by beat, thrilling move by move, the director Anna Rose Holmer — making an impressively assured feature debut — proves that the his-and-her spaces of the boxing ring and dance floor are more multilayered than they seem.


The Fits is currently traveling to select festivals across the States, and opens wide on June 3.

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“West Cincinnati”