Oh glorious subjectivity. Motion and emotion trounce text in “The Fits,” debut writer-director-producer Anna Rose Holmer’s patient, powerful, dreamy debut feature. Center frame is a young wonder named Royalty Hightower as an alienated eleven-year-old tomboy named Toni, who strives to become one of The Lionesses, a dance team in the West End of Cincinnati. Repetition, routine, formation (then fainting: figures that flew, falling in inexplicable mass hysteria). Toni learns by watching. Toni learns by doing. Rhythms, then routines, establish, recur. Toni’s an outsider, working inward, realizing her self, her potential, her power as the camera observes, enables, ennobles her modest, yet major journey. The dreamy, joyous “The Fits” is elegance and simplicity supreme. The eye-widening, ear-opening, syncopated score is by Danny Bensi and Saunder Jurriaans. With Alexis Neblett, Da’Sean Minor, Lauren Gibson, Makyla Burnam, Inayah Rodgers. 72m. (Ray Pride)
“The Fits” opens Friday, July 29 at Siskel.
Ray Pride is Newcity’s film critic and a contributing editor to Filmmaker magazine.
His history of Chicago “Ghost Signs” in words and images will be published in Spring 2022.