Life with you is war.

A review by Mike Shea   Movie Rating: ( * * * * · )    DVD Rating: ( * * * * · )

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For about ten years I studied various martial arts up until the point that I realized that everything except a corpse would probably kick my ass in just about any situation imaginable. During this time, however, I did have the opportunity to go into a couple of armature matches, which helped me come to this conclusion. In no other movie I have seen has the environment, mentality, and psychology of combat sports like it has in Girlfight. This realism extends into the rest of the movie, building realistic characters, dialog, writing, story, and conclusion. It is a powerful piece that isn't given near as much credit as it deserves.

Our heroine is a teenage girl with some serious anger management issues. Her childhood has been hard, her environment is hostile, her "friends" are backstabbing bitches, and her father is a drunk. She lashes out at anything she can and one day she finds her outlet. Boxing. She is a woman in a man's game, but that isn't her purpose. She wants to fight, and for the duration of the movie she learns how to do so.

Girlfight is all about realism. There are no happy Hollywood endings. Her home life isn't fixed. Her father doesn't hold her up on his shoulders, apologizing for ever doubting her. Girlfight's story flows as it should. Life is hard, life with her is war. Life is war period.

The actors in Girlfight are all amazing. They pull off their characters perfectly, perhaps because as an independent movie none of them know any better. The depth we see in them is a depth we will never see in a billion dollar Al Pacino picture. Girlfight is proof that independent movies are a genre all their own.

The DVD of Girlfight is very good but cannot stand up to the perfection of a DVDs like Seven or Royal Tenenbaums. It has a 1.85 to 1 16x9 transfer and a clean Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack that helps build atmosphere but doesn't overdo it. There is also a director's commentary included, very worthwhile for a film of this depth.

I loved Girlfight. There was some tacky romance that didn't sit too well with me, but the rest of the picture is excellent. It goes outside the bounds of typical movie definition. It isn't a chick flick or an action film. It is a movie about a girl who is pissed off. It's excellent cinema.