The Fits showcases a young black cast, predominantly female, in the world of American dance troupes. It is a flaunt of diversity and artistic expression but by no means does it exist sorely for that purpose. Almost an urban US companion piece to 2014’s The Falling in the way it portrays a grounded community being hit by a bizarre pandemic. While the 60s British girls in The Falling experienced murderous fainting spells, the young dancers here are suddenly struck by an outbreak of strange seizures.
We see the world through the eyes of 11-year old Toni (Royalty Hightower, arriving on the young actors scene with aplomb), a tomboy who joins the dance troupe early in the film and struggles to fit in with the older girls, especially as the “fits” of the title bring the victims closer together leaving the unaffected Toni looking in from the outside. The metaphor is not hard to miss and the scene-by-scene content – stubbornly and stunningly spare – sometimes feels like a short film stretched to only-just feature length. Writer/director Anna Rose Holmer brings a specific vision to her material though and her choices – culled from an unmistakably female sensibility – occasionally inspire “oh wow” levels of aesthetic pleasure. One of the fits is viewed exclusively through iPhone screens and it is at once disturbing and timely. The film’s glorious climax is a total sensation too and makes The Fits maybe the first movie to be exclusively born and realised in, and fully representative of The Beyoncé Age.