MOVIE OF THE WEEK February 2, 2024: FITTING IN

It’s unusual (and therefore always appreciated) to see teens portrayed authentically in the movies. Too often, the slang is all wrong, the references are outdated, and the situations are enough to make a real-life teen roll their eyes hard. That’s a significant part of why Molly McGlynn’s empathetic drama Fitting In succeeds: As it tells the story of high schooler Lindy (Maddie Ziegler) and her journey to accepting the differences that set her apart from her peers, it always feels real.

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FITTING IN – Review by Loren King

Fitting In is about 16 year-old Lindy (Maddie Zeigler) as she navigates the rough waters of sex, gender and body image after she is diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a surprisingly not uncommon congenital condition that means she doesn’t menstruate, has a small vaginal canal and no uterus. This fact will be an education to many but there’s nothing clinical about the film which handles its story and characters with both humor and substance.

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FITTING IN – Review by Sherin Nicole

“I’m not normal. You’re not normal.” That line is the battle cry of liberation in Fitting In. Written and directed by Molly McGlynn, this tale of teenaged awakening focuses on the upheaval that detonates when Lindy (Maddie Ziegler) realizes she’s not what society calls “normal.” Played with saucy realness by Ziegler, tentative bravado by Djouliet Amara, and gentle fortitude by Ki Griffin, Fitting In rejoices in dismantling our quests for an idea of normalcy that the government or the guardians or the school board tells us is who we are supposed to be.

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FITTING IN – Review by Leslie Combemale

Wow, what a beautiful, original narrative about navigating life with a female body in a man’s world. There’s no victimhood in writer/director Molly McGlynn’s coming of age dramedy Fitting In, just teens figuring things out and finding a way to prioritize self-acceptance over fitting into a cisgendered society’s expectations. McGlynn has created one of the most female-centric stories I’ve ever seen. The story is of Lindy, who discovers she has MRKH Syndrome, which means she’ll never have a period, has no vaginal canal or uterus, and will never bear children. McGlynn comes by the film’s perspective honestly, having the rare reproductive disorder herself.

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FITTING IN – Review by Cate Marquis

Writer-director Molly McGlynn sensitively handles Lindy’s struggle with her life-changing news, but as serious as this subject is, the director balances the tone by injecting a little gentle humor and adding a bit of information on intersex people and other human variations in sex organs, especially through an intersex character Jax (Ki Griffin). Fitting In follows Lindy’s efforts to find a way to cope, while touching on common real-world issues for teens like feelings about their bodies, fitting in socially, identity struggles, teen-parent communication, and also bullying, gossip, and toxic social media. The result is a teen dramedy that is surprisingly likable, as well as a warm and honest film about a teen finding her own way.

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CUSP – Review by Valerie Kalfrin

Teenage girlhood has never been easy. The documentary Cusp captures that tricky twilight between childhood and adulthood for a clutch of rural Texas teens through a meandering summer of parties, bedroom hangouts, and unflinching intimacy. One moment they’re whimsical enough to blow away dandelion seeds; the next, they’re sharing matter-of-fact observations about boys, sexual assault, and sexual abuse.

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SPRING BLOSSOM – Review by Diane Carson

Spring Blossom offers a refreshing, imaginative take on teenage ennui. French writer/director Suzanne Lindon dramatizes the familiar ennui of adolescence in a refreshing, imaginative feature film debut. Moreover, she expertly plays the central sixteen-year-old misfit, also named Suzanne, who becomes enamored of thirty-five-year-old stage actor Raphaël, immersed in his own boredom with repetitive rehearsals and performances, notably as an oak tree.

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SPRING BLOSSOM – Review by Sandie Angulo Chen

There’s something inherently uncomfortable about age-gap romances when one person is underaged. Even when the older party isn’t a teacher, coach, or other authority figure, it’s still problematic. What’s remarkable about the French film Spring Blossom is that unlike similar films made by men, this one is from the perspective of the young woman and doesn’t shy away from showing precisely how intelligent but also naive and young the protagonist really is… probably because writer-director-star Suzanne Lindon penned the script when she was 15 (and shot the film when she was 19).

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SPRING BLOSSOM – Review by Leslie Combemale

Multi-hyphenate Suzanne Lindon has Cesar-winning actors Vincent Lindon and Sandrine Kiberlain as parents, and knew from a young age she wanted to find her way into performing in film world on her own terms, and by her own merits. She started writing Spring Blossom, (originally titled Seize Printemps, which means 16 Spring in French) at the age of 15, as a way to create a strong lead character for herself as actor. In 2019, she decided to direct the work as well.

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SELAH AND THE SPADES – Review by Diane Carson

Writer/director Tayarisha Poe, in her feature debut Selah and the Spades, dramatizes a time that will resonate strongly with high school groups and those familiar with the battles of those years. The title 17-year-old senior Selah is queen bee of The Spades, a clique in conflict with the other four factions at elite Haldwell boarding school in Pennsylvania.

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