Fitting In, a stirring coming-of-age drama-comedy, brilliantly written and directed by Molly McGlynn, offers an intriguing narrative through the highs and lows of adolescence and presents the audience with a breathtaking tapestry of joy, grief, identity crisis, and hope.
At the heart of the story is Lindy, portrayed remarkably by Maddie Ziegler, who once again asserts her remarkable acting prowess and skill. A 16-year-old girl recently diagnosed with MRKH syndrome, a rare reproductive disorder, her grappling with a compromised sense of womanhood and sexuality forms the central arc of the film. The series of disarrayed relationships with her new boyfriend, Adam, her high-school friends, especially her vivacious confidant, Vivian, and her well-meaning but mostly perplexed mother, Rita, unfolds into a highly engaging drama that is truly relatable and well-portrayed.
Ziegler’s portrayal of Lindy’s struggles is candid, filled with just the right amount of poignancy and wit that captivates and stirs your heart. Her understanding of the gravity and nuance that such a role requires is reflected impeccably in her performances. There are moments in the movie when Lindy’s inner turmoil is not expressly articulated, but it’s there, visibly apparent in the expressive and poignant performance Ziegler offers.
D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai plays the confused but genuinely caring boyfriend, Adam, with immense charm. He perfectly captures the naïveté of a teenager navigating through an uncomfortable situation while simultaneously providing ample warmth to his character. Djouliet Amara plays Vivian, Lindy’s confidant and a vibrant character whose bright disposition contrasts Lindy’s evolving emotional darkness. Her convincing portrayal keeps the movie balanced without overshadowing Lindy’s turmoil.
Last but not least, Emily Hampshire delivers a fine performance as Rita, Lindy’s mother. She represents every mother’s internal battle between providing constant support to their struggling children while dealing with their fears and concerns. Her emotions flicker with frustration, pain, love, and above all, an eagerness to comprehend her daughter’s emotional tumult.
What’s beautiful about Fitting In is its genuine commitment to deliver an earnest portrayal of an underrepresented disorder. McGlynn doesn’t romanticize the ailment or utilize it to derive undue empathy. Rather, she employs it as a tool for profound character development, successfully evoking sincere compassion.
Fitting In draws an incisive sketch of a teenager trying to grasp the often cruel, unforgiving norms of society. McGlynn carefully steers the plot with masterful screenplay and fluid narrative, evoking moments of levity amid profound struggle. The high-school dynamics are very well woven into the central storyline.
Cinematographer Nina Djacic excellently captured the juxtaposition of youthful vibrancy and raw turmoil with effective cinematographic aesthetics. McGlynn’s coming-of-age drama, aided by Djacic’s visuals, undoubtedly left an enduring mark.
However, some scenes felt too clichéd, weakening the profound message the film strived to deliver. But these minor imperfections don’t majorly hinder the impact and progression of the story.
Fitting In takes you on a profound journey filled with teenage angst and resilience. It draws an underrepresented medical condition into mainstream cinematic discourse. Brilliant performances, coupled with a compelling narrative, make it a worthy watch.
A couple of unnecessary clichés slightly let down this otherwise thoughtfully crafted coming-of-age tale. Despite this minor hiccup, Fitting In largely succeeds in delivering a charming, poignant, and emotionally rewarding cinematic experience.
Fitting In Review: A Youthful and Impressive Emotional Voyage
- Acting - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cinematography/Visual Effects - 8/108/10
- Plot/Screenplay - 7.5/107.5/10
- Setting/Theme - 8/108/10
- Watchability - 8/108/10
- Rewatchability - 6.5/106.5/10