Reviewed by: Hillari Hunter
|Featuring:||Michelle Rodriguez, Jaime Tirelli, Paul Calderon, Santiago Douglas, Ray Santiago, Elisa Bocanegra, Shannon Walker Williams, Iris Little Thomas, John Sayles|
Diana is an aimless Latina tomboy who appears to be mad at the world. She lives in a household where her widowed father worries more about her brother’s future than hers. She has gotten into several fist fights at school and is in danger of expulsion. One day she takes money to the gym where her brother Tiny takes boxing lessons to pay his trainer. She likes the atmosphere and decides that she wants to train as well. Hector, Tiny’s trainer, doesn’t want to train her because she’s a female, but Diana is not one to give up so easily.
Good sports films aren’t just about the sport they highlight, and “Girlfight” is no exception. Once Diana starts training, she has a purpose. Boxing gives her self-respect, and it channels her anger into something positive. Tiny eventually gives up boxing, letting his sister take his lessons instead. Another boxer in the gym named Adrian (Santiago Douglas, in an obvious nod to the “Rocky” films) notices her newfound confidence and is attracted to Diana. However, their relationship is put to the test due to their career goals.
There are fights that are the staple of every film about boxing, including the big match that the main character’s future depends on. Some audience members might have a problem seeing a woman fighting, and Diana (Michelle Rodriguez) does get hurt a few times. Diana also steals from her father in the beginning to pay for her boxing lessons, and is disrespectful towards him (although the reason why is eventually revealed). There is a scene where Diana and Adrian sleep in his bed, but no sexual activity takes place. The R rating is mostly for language. This film does have a lot of heart, and the lead actress, a newcomer, is very believable in her role.