Movie Review: Preadolescent anxiety bleeds into eco-horror in the dreamy The Fits

The first time the heroine of The Fits appears on screen, she’s working out in a boxing gym, shadowing her older brother. Preteen Toni (played by the magnetic newcomer Royalty Hightower) dresses in sweats and spars with the older boys, taking pride in being muscular and tough. But she also keeps peering through the door to see what’s going on in the other half of her Cincinnati community center, in the practice space where the teenage girls prepare to compete as part of a championship dance troupe known as The Lionesses. What does she see in them? Maybe she’s drawn to their confidence, which is so different from the guys’—derived from cocky preening and assertive sexuality, not physical violence. Or maybe she just senses a place where she could be part of a team of winners and not be the oddball who only gets whatever ring …

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