Teenage tomboy Toni (Royalty Hightower) is the beating heart of this small, self-contained drama about the confusing no man’s land between childhood and adolescence. Aged eleven, Toni spends hours at a local recreation centre with her older brother. She trains while the boys box, but longs to belong to the all-girl group who dance next door.
Toni is small, strong and almost entirely silent. With minimal dialogue, director Anna Rose Holmer turns us in voyeurs. We watch with Toni as she gazes at her reflection, spies on the older girls or eavesdrops snippets of conversation. There are no adults in Toni’s world. The intense desire to fit in with her peers is all-consuming.
Once she picks up the courage to audition for the dance troupe, everyone begins to fall prey to strange fits and fainting spells – first the coaches, then the older girls, before the peculiar affliction filters down through the hierarchy of the group. The unexplained, seemingly contagious convulsions soon attract the attention of the media.
‘The Fits’ is abstract and atmospheric, intense and surprisingly emotional. There are few explanations in this short tale. It’s hard to pin down, but guaranteed to leave a mark.