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Overall Rating

Awesome: 20%
Worth A Look67.5%
Average: 5%
Pretty Bad: 2.5%
Total Crap: 5%

4 reviews, 16 user ratings

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by Dust For Eyes

"Raging Bull meets Daria"
4 stars

Female boxing puts on the cinematic gloves in Karyn Kusama’s major debut effort, Girlfight. Kusama gets in the ring to take on the dangerously cliché-clogged genre of the sports film and manages to dodge nearly all the body hits to score a knock out - and I’ll quit with the boxing analogies there.

With the boxing film you of course can’t go pass Raging Bull, and everyone remembers Rocky. The former was a cinematic study of the physical craft while the latter was a splatter-pulp-fest. Girlfight does something else by getting more into the mindset of the boxer.

Girlfight tells the story of Diana (Rodriguez), a girl with a violent temper who is heading for trouble if she doesn’t start doing something constructive with her life. In this excellent film, Diana turns her attention and frustrations towards boxing where she meets up with trainer Hector (Tirelli) and another boy at their gym, Adrian (Douglas), who Diana will have battles of several different kinds.

Girlfight manages to avoid most of the clichés of sports films (the triumph/loss of the new/old guy and the business behind it, sums up most sports films) by dealing with the relatively new sport of female and ‘gender blind’ boxing and the tricky issues that arise because of it. There is the well used ‘girls can’t do that’ thing, but it is only a minor part of the film.

While the Kusama script starts slowly showing us the life of Diana in the stark and grim world of Brooklyn, it really turns it on in the second half as we see Diana develop from a directionless and angry-about-it school girl to a focused and angry-about-it boxer.

Despite all the misery about, there is also a lot of humour in the film.

Production designer Stephen Beatrice and Patrick Cady’s cinematography keeps things suitable grim in the squalor of the poorer parts of Brooklyn. Rodriguez is very good as Diana, making her convincingly confused, angry and frustrated. She obviously put in a lot of effort to build herself up to look like a toned boxer – a sport that she has never done before. Indeed if her efforts were an Olympic sport she would surely earn the praise of GOLD! SILVER! BRUCE! MacAvaney. Whilst Tirelli also does an excellent natural performance as Hector. It is Diana’s relationship with Hector, Adrian and her father (Calderon), that are at the heart of this film.

This film has already picked up a boxing glove full of awards from Sundance and Cannes and deservedly so. Girlfight is an accomplished, thoughtful and well-made effort.

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originally posted: 09/19/00 18:30:09
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User Comments

3/29/17 Anne Selby Somewhat cliche yet pulls you in 3 stars
12/14/09 RLan A good film. Rodriguez did a great job as the lead. 4 stars
11/17/07 Jennifer The movie was good, so acting seemed overdone yet decent 4 stars
8/16/05 ES I was hoping this movie would rock considering the hype, too bad stifles under bad acting 2 stars
7/31/03 The Talking Elbow Vance might be right but this was a good movie 4 stars
7/01/02 Harmony It was a wonderful ,exciting movie.And M. Rodriguez did a WONDERFUL job.she is the BEST! 5 stars
3/21/02 Vance Movie was bullshit! Both boxers hit like women (or people who have never fought before). 1 stars
3/10/02 Ashley Santiago Douglas is so damn fucking hot!! 5 stars
11/02/01 kinga It's worth looking, because of it's great-new portrait of the young woman. 4 stars
6/22/01 brentley Rodriguez was excellent. Her performance alone is worth taking a look at the movie. 4 stars
4/17/01 The Bomb 69 Rodriguez gave a great performance but the movie was slow and cliched 3 stars
1/30/01 Terabinx It's a cliche bending movie, that is definately busting a few stereotypical balls. 4 stars
1/06/01 EDY BUREW BAD 1 stars
11/09/00 MO Great acting by Michelle Rodriguez 4 stars
10/06/00 JL This movie has many good actors. Though not a great film its alright. 4 stars
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  23-Nov-2000 (M)

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