Girlfight

2000

Drama / Sport

2
Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 87% · 133 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 75% · 10K ratings
IMDb Rating 6.7/10 10 11404 11.4K

Director

Top cast

Michelle Rodriguez as Diana Guzman
Ray Santiago as Tiny Guzman
John Sayles as Science Teacher
Paul Calderon as Sandro Guzman
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1019.66 MB
1280*692
English 2.0
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 20
2.04 GB
1920*1038
English 5.1
R
23.976 fps
1 hr 50 min
Seeds 46

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by A_Different_Drummer 8 / 10

all breakout performances should be this good

Watching Michelle Rodriguez deliver a confident performance in FF7 -- just one of many in her career -- it is easy to overlook this breakout role in this semi-indie boxing film.

Just because it is easy does not mean you should do it.

I re-watched Girlfight prior to this review and, just as I remembered, her reaction shots and dead-man stares were the standouts in a film which holds up surprisingly well.

I cannot over-emphasize how elegant this breakout role is. Stallone, the Jedi master of fight films, had his breakout role in a very forgettable film called the Lords of Flatbush. In it, he had a wrestling scene.

Recommended. And the rating should be higher than it is. It was intended as a character study and there are no bad performances, no dull moments.

Reviewed by jhclues 7 / 10

Drama That Rings of Honesty

The first step to getting off of that road that leads to nowhere is recognizing that you're on it in the first place; then it becomes a matter of being assertive and taking positive steps to overcome the negative influences in your life that may have put you on that road to begin with. Which is exactly what a young Latino girl does in `Girlfight,' written and directed by Karyn Kusama. Diana (Michelle Rodriguez) is an eighteen-year-old High School senior from the projects in Brooklyn, facing expulsion after her fourth fight in the halls since the beginning of the semester. She affects a `whatever' attitude which masks a deep-seated anger that threatens to take her into places she'd rather not go. She lives with her father, Sandro (Paul Calderon), with whom she has a very tentative relationship, and her younger brother, Tiny (Ray Santiago). With her life teetering on the brink of dissolution, she desperately needs an outlet through which to channel the demons that plague her. And one day she finds it, without even looking for it, when she stops by the gym where Tiny trains. Ironically, Tiny wants nothing to do with boxing; he wants to go to art school, but Sandro is determined that his son should be able to take care of himself on the streets, and pays the ten dollars a week it costs for his lessons. When Diana convinces Tiny's trainer, Hector (Jaime Tirelli), to take her on, and approaches her father for the money, under the guise of calling it a weekly allowance (she doesn't want him to know what she wants the money for), Sandro turns her down and tells her to go out and earn her own money. Ultimately, with Tiny's help she finds a way, and the ring soon becomes her second home. It's an environment to which she readily adapts, and it appears that her life is about to take a turn for the better. And the fact that she will have to fight men, not women, in `gender blind' competitions, does not faze her in the least. Diana has found her element.

First time writer/director Karyn Kusama has done a terrific job of creating a realistic setting for her story, presenting an honest portrait of life in the projects and conveying that desperation so familiar to so many young people who find themselves in dead-end situations and on that road that leads to nowhere. And there's no candy coating on it, either; as Hector tells Diana when she asks him how he came to be where he is, `I was a fighter once. I lost.' Then, looking around the busy gym, `Like most of these guys, they're going to lose, too. But it's all they know--' And it's that honesty of attitude, as well as the way in which the characters are portrayed, that makes this movie as good as it is. It's a bleak world, underscored by the dimly lit, run-down gym-- you can fairly smell the sweat of the boxers-- and that sense of desolation that hangs over it all like a pall, blanketing these people who are grasping and hanging on to the one and only thing they have, all that they know.

Making her screen debut, Michelle Rodriguez is perfectly cast as Diana, infusing her with a depth and brooding intensity that fairly radiates off of her in waves. She is so real that it makes you wonder how much of it is really Rodriguez; exactly where does the actor leave off and the character begin? Whatever it is, it works. It's a powerful, memorable performance, by an actor from whom we will await another endeavor with great anticipation. She certainly makes Diana a positive role model, one in whom many hopefully will find inspiration and the realization that there are alternative paths available in life, at least to those who would seek them out.

As positive as this film is, however, it ends on something of an ambiguous note; though Diana obviously has her feet on the ground, there's no indication of where she's headed. Is this a short term fix for her, or is she destined to become the female counterpart of Hector? After all, realistically (and in light of the fact that the realism is one of the strengths of this film), professional boxing isn't exactly a profession that lends itself to, nor opens it's arms to women. And in keeping with the subject matter of the film, and the approach of the filmmaker, an affirmation of the results of Diana's assertiveness would have been appropriate.

The supporting cast includes Santiago Douglas (Adrian), Elisa Bocanegra (Marisol), Alicia Ashley (Ricki) and Thomas Barbour (Ira). Though it delivers a very real picture of life to which many will be able to identify, there are certain aspects of `Girlfight,' that stretch credibility a bit, regarding some of what happens in the ring. That aside, it's a positive film that for the most part is a satisfying experience. I rate this one 7/10.

Reviewed by mercury-26 7 / 10

good showcase for new talent

Casting unknown Michelle Rodriguez as Diana was a stroke of genius. She's perfect. Her acting inexperience actually works in her favor. We've never seen her before so it really feels like her story. She also brings across genuine toughness. This works against her though, because we never doubt her. You never have to cheer for her to win because she never goes up against any fighter we don't think she can beat. So as a boxing movie, it fails.

Then again, this isn't really a boxing movie. How do you make a movie about a girl who wants to be a boxer that isn't a boxing movie? You don't. But Karyn Kusama has anyway. Like many indie films, "Girlfight" defies classification or genre and stands on its own as folklore that could darn near happen in real life.

Diana is doing poorly in school. She beats up people she doesn't like (all the other girls in her school for example). She doesn't fit in. Her father is forcing her kid brother Tiny to learn to box so he can defend himself when things get tough. He gives Tiny money for his boxing sessions and gives Diana nothing, as if she has no need to defend herself, nor anything worthwhile to make of her life. Tiny wants to go to art school (cliche', yuck), so he gives up his boxing allowance to Diana, who actually wants to box. Things get complicated when Diana falls for another boxer, Adrian (Santiago Douglas), who's looking to turn pro. From there the story winds down toward the inevitable...the two meet in the amateur title fight.

What left me cold was that I never found any of this all that interesting. It's all just a bit too believable. Kids with tough lives growing up in rough urban areas fall back on sports. A lot of professional boxers have risen from these circumstances. The mental and physical toughness this upbringing requires lends itself to a game like boxing, where anger is your friend. So this time it's a girl. Big deal.

Or there's another position to take: finally, a boxing movie about a girl. Women's boxing has been around a long time. The brutality we usually see in boxing films is replaced here by discussions of people's their lives and their feelings. The whole fighting thing is used as a platform from which to paint a larger picture. Respect. Overcoming adversity. Self-discovery.

I recommend "Girlfight" because it has a good spirit and is an example of some great work by a first time director. The dialogue never rises above soap opera quality, but the story itself actually changed my view on some things. Yes, the world now seems like a better place. A film did that.

Grade: B-

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