The Fits

500 Days Of Film Reviews Drama, The Fits, Starring Royalty Hightower

Toni is a tomboy who becomes fascinated by a tight-knit dance team in Cincinnati’s West End. She eagerly absorbs routines, masters drills and even pierces her own ears to fit in. However, a mysterious outbreak of fainting spells challenges Toni’s desire for acceptance.

Is It Any Good?

The Fits is an impressive and assured debut from writer director, Anna Rose Holmer. Exploring themes of growing up and fitting in, the film follows Toni (a stunning performance from Royalty Hightower) and her experiences after joining the Cincinnati Lions dance team.


We first meet Toni in a boxing gym. Here, in charmingly innocent scenes, she trains with and helps her brother, Jermaine (Da'Sean Minor). Where Jermaine leads, Toni follows. However, before our eyes, Toni begins to change. She desires something more and becomes fascinated with a vibrant community of girls. 


Of course, as The Fits poignantly reveals, a step towards the Lions means a step away from Jermaine. Thus Anna Rose Holmer has, via lingering close ups and with minimal exposition, captured a powerful moment in a young girl’s life. A moment of independence and acceptance, growth and belonging.



The fits of the movie’s title are a mystery. Like in Carol Morley’s The Falling, we are never really sure if these fainting spells and convulsions are real or imagined. Thus The Fits builds a deeply uncanny atmosphere - made more unsettling thanks to cinematographer Paul Yee’s unsettling camera angles and the wonderfully strange and insistent score from Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans.


The seizures soon become a badge of honour - an oddly desirable initiation to a special community. It is fascinating to watch Toni process this development - particularly as The Fits removes the safety net of adult guidance. She is left alone to decide whether to dismiss the fits or join in with them.


The Fits is a wonderful debut from a very exciting new director. Anna Rose Holmer is certainly a filmmaker to watch out for in the future.

Random Observations

Have you seen The Fits?


If you have, what did you think of Anna Rose Holmer’s film? Let me know by leaving me a comment in the section below. 

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Jane Douglas-Jones
Jane Douglas-Jones



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