Urban Cinefile
"If you've ever had the word sexy attached to your name, as many doors as it opens, you can also hear them shutting from here to Kansas! - "  -Kim Basinger
 The World of Film in Australia - on the Internet Updated Saturday, December 16, 2017 

Search SEARCH FOR A VIDEO_FILE
Our Review Policy OUR REVIEW POLICY
Printable page PRINTABLE PAGE

Help/Contact

GIRLFIGHT

SYNOPSIS:
Diana Guzman (Michelle Rodriguez) is an angry young woman living in the poverty-stricken Red Hook precinct of Brooklyn with her dismissive father Sandro (Paul Calderon) and younger brother Tiny (Ray Santiago). Her quick temper and a nothing to lose attitude earn her a reputation of troublemaker, which boxing trainer Hector (Jaime Tirelli) agrees reluctantly to channel into boxing while also training Tiny. To everyone’s surprise, it is Diana who relishes in the sport, and she is soon competing against both sexes – and when she has to fight Adrian (Santiago Douglas) their budding relationship is tested: but at last she has found something that makes sense to her.

"From the edgy opening credits when we meet Diana, we know we are in the hands of a special filmmaker in Karyn Kusama, as she takes us into Diana’s small but dynamic and acutely observed world. Powerful and gripping, Girlfight is fresh and unpredictable, full of the sort of reality that gives us insight, adding to our knowledge of humanity. Michelle Rodriguez is superb as Diana, the angry young woman who literally fights her way out of a personal, family and social vacuum and into womanhood. She manages to portray all the conflicting emotions that pound and batter Diana in her unhappy environment, pitching her performance at just the right level of intensity. The boxing in the film is fiesty but bloodless, and the drama supporting it takes this well away from the boxing genre. And, by the way, I wouldn’t label Girlfight as a feminist film: it doesn’t strike any poses or pushes any socio-political line. That’s why it’s so strong, in fact, because Kusama focuses on Diana. All the cast are superb and the script is at once intelligent, sensitive and toughminded. Little wonder that John Sayles took an interest in the film (as executive producer and in a small support role). Girlfight is a moving character study, a punchy social observation, and outstanding cinema."
Andrew L. Urban

" Gripping, moody and terrific cinema, Girlfight is a knockout. Karyn Kusama's first feature is gritty drama that goes far beyond the world of boxing. This is a character driven story about determination, relationships and love, and some of it based on her experience as an amateur boxer – though the character is vastly different. There are many surprises, such as the music, which ranges from classical to rap and lots in between. It's the mood of the film that stays with you – created by a concise powerful script, oomphy lighting and very strong performances. Michelle Rodriguez carries the film in this, her first feature with natural screen charisma and she oozes what you'd call – attitude. She's a rebel and she's got the same sultry look as Marlon Brando in The Wild One. But her character's a contradiction in terms: she's tough but she's vulnerable; she's angry but focused; she's a tomboy but she's got a girlie side. And her physical appearance tells a story of its own. Her strong eyebrows, full lips, braided hair and the way her eyes snarl at the world. When she smiles, it's as though the sun has come out after a thunderstorm. Diana's passion for boxing opens the door to life: here lies her opportunity for direction, self respect and a relationship. The relationships in Diana's life are the key to this film – that with her coach (Jaime Tirelli is terrific), with her father Sandro (Paul Calderon, complex) and with Adrian (Santiago Douglas, enigmatic), the man in her life, who also becomes her opponent in the ring. The uncertain emotional moments are beautifully handled, while those sparring in the ring are riveting – I found myself holding my breath with anticipation. Girlfight has broad appeal – it's cool enough for the cool, and compelling enough for the rest."
Louise Keller

Email this article

CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 2
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

See Andrew L. Urban's interview with
KARYN KUSAMA

TRAILER Low or High

GIRLFIGHT (M)
(US)

CAST: Michelle Rodriguez, Jaime Tirelli, PaulCalderon, Santiago Douglas

PRODUCERS: Sarah Green, Martha Griffin, Maggie Renzi

DIRECTOR: Karyn Kusama

SCRIPT: Karyn Kusama

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Patrick Cady

EDITOR: Plummy Tucker

MUSIC: Theodore Shapiro (Music Supervisor: Susan Jacobs, Gary Harris)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Stephen Beatrice

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: REP/ Tribe

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: November 23, 2000

VIDEO DISTRIBUTOR: Tribe

VIDEO RELEASE: March 28, 2001







© Urban Cinefile 1997 - 2017