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Girlfight is the seemingly simple story of a Diana, a young woman from the projects with an attitude who trains to be a boxer. Played brilliantly by the newcomer Michelle Rodriguez, the role calls for a brooding hostile intensity as well as a deep sensitivity. Diana has to be strong, both physically mentally in order to battle the stereotypes in her macho Latino culture. And Michelle Rodriguez doesn't just have power in her biceps; she has power in her eyes. One of her narrow-eyed scowls says more than pages of dialog. During the film she learns to focus her rage into her boxing, and the joy of her growing control is apparent by the delight on her face. She also falls in love with a young male boxer, Adrian, played by Santiago Douglas, and their relationship has its ups and downs. Eventually, they have to fight each other in the ring.
The whole cast is excellent -- Jaime Tirelli as her trainer, Ray Santiago as her little brother, Elisa Bocanegra as her girlfriend, and Paul Calderon as her brutal father. And, in a small cameo performance, the famous director, John Sayles, is cast as a boring science teacher. Later, I discovered that the brilliant 32-year old writer and director of this film, Karyn Kusama, went through some training of her own. She is John Sayles former assistant and this, her first film, has already won all kinds of awards. I predict a long and brilliant career for her as well as the young actress. The entire production deserves a well-earned Bravo! Girlfight is winner on all levels. Don't miss it.
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on February 17, 2001
American movies rarely focus on the underclass without (a) glamorising the violence inherent within the 'hood' (b hammer you over the head with its socially redeeming message or (c) milk the rare and the bizarre out of the situation to titilate the overstimulated middle class adolescent audience. To its credit this movie attempts none of these. Director Karyn Kusama and lead Michelle Rodriguez can take a lot of credit and pride for the obvious work and thought that has gone into the making of this movie.It deserves all the accolades it has been awarded.
Its naturalistic shooting style and dialogue puts to shame hundreds of movies that have operated on a budget 5 times its scale.Money cant make up for lack of talent or integrity and this movie has that and more.
Diana(Michelle Rodriguez)is a young woman with an attitude. Her constant fighting at school consistently gets her in trouble with the school authorities.Her home life isnt much better with a solo dad bitter with failure and a geek younger brother at odds with the tough urban environment. To toughen him up Dad pays for him to learn boxing at what has got to be the most realistic version of the seedy gym ever filmed.She is attracted by the pugilistic world she encounters and persuades the trainer to take her on and train her.The film revolves around the challenges she has to become a boxer and gain respect,the disapproving father and a burgeoning relationship with one of the other boxers.
Its sucess comes from its simplicity. The director never overplays her hand and every scene has a ring of authenticity to it.She is served well by the lead actress who acts as if the part was written about her and for her.This almost lowkey documentary approach beautifully mirrors the no BS attitude of the character and the boxing subculture of the nickel and dime gym.Her brooding defiant glare says more about this character than 10 pages of dialogue and aptly is the image used to market the film.
Girlfight makes an interesting counterpoint to the othe rave martial movie of the moment,Crouching Tiger,Hidden Dragon.Both films with a stunning young female protagonist,a film grad student could have a field day (and probably will) comparing the gender and power themes inherent in both films,one yin,one yang,one soft,one hard,one on an epic scale, the other made on the others catering budget. Both a triumph for their respective directors.
Great films transcend gender,culture and ideologies.Thats because they reveal truths about the human spirit and soul at a level we all connect to. Girlfight connects with the left, the right, the jab and the uppercut. A winning combination.
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on March 31, 2015
It was odd.
I was looking for a boxing movie and I got it so that is...nice? I guess...
The boyfriend goes bounces between 'nice' and 'whiny' throughout the entire movie.

While I know that women don't show muscle as distinctively as men do, it still takes a lot of time to develop the amount of muscle needed to take down a man twice her size and it showed some training but mostly, it focused on her learning the footwork and combinations (when they weren't focusing on Adrian).

In the climax, I think Adrian let her win the match. I think it was something along the lines of 'Am I so determined to go pro that I'm willing to beat up my girlfriend?' and when he said that he 'gave it all he had', he gave it all he had emotionally - not physically.

Boys are different from girls. Guys can bulk up; women can't. I'm not saying that women can't be as strong as a man but she will never be bulky. Unless a woman is specifically training herself otherwise, a man will win on the power scale every time.
I think it was a good movie. I'm not going to rent it again but it was somewhere between 'okayish' and 'good'.

---I much prefer the Rocky series or Million Dollar Baby. Million Dollar Baby had a sad ending but it was a damn good movie---
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on November 11, 2014
I've always loved this film and the way it represents woman. Usually, it's the woman that gives up herself and her dreams for the man that is currently in her life. But Diana, the character that Michelle Rodriguez plays, is such an empowering female. She decides that she wants better for her self and to finally stand up to abusive father. Diana does't break down when her love interest, Adrian Sturges played by Santiago Douglas, goes out with a "prettier" girl after showing his interest to Diana, instead she channels her rage and hurt and improves herself in a sport that is mainly dominated and controlled by men. She rises so much so, that she started to get attention from the boxing world. Something that her love interest wasn't expecting, and realizes that he grouped Diana like those "other girls" when clearly she is not. I do recommend this movie, especially to you females who need a positive female character.
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on October 19, 2015
My boyfriend had never seen Girlfight, but had a crush on Michelle Rodriguez. I didn't even understand how this was possible, and judged him harshly for his admission. We immediately rectified his indiscretion because Fast and Furious is Sad and Curious and not worth a crush. In short: he thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I mightily relished justice.
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on January 4, 2005
Prove them wrong. Three short simple words punctuate this Girlfights tagline. Three words that have the effect of a boxing combination even Rocky would be proud of delivering. Prove them wrong, three words that the films protagonist has to live by because everyone and everything seems to be working against her.

Girlfight is the story of a quick-tempered young woman who finds discipline, self-respect and love in the boxing ring. One day, after just having a fight in school, and being warned that she better get her act together or else, she goes to the gym to pick up her brother. After a sparring partner sucker punches her brother, she attacks the boxer. Once Diana decides she wants to become a boxer her priorities are forced into focus as she begins a grueling training regimen in the same gym her brother trains in. Along the way she falls in love with a talented amateur in the same gym.

We are inundated with Hollywood pictures. The money shot, the big budget, the big names. Sometimes with all of that you get a big zero. Then there are the independents. The films that are made with little money, with talented, but not yet famous people, sometimes you get zero here as well. Not this time. Girlfight is one of those small indie pictures that packs a wallop.

Newcomer Michelle Rodriguez is brilliantly enigmatic as the troubled Diana. We can see the adolescent angst in her, and believe her motivations when she wants something more, when she wants to learn to box. Rodriguez not only is able to play the hard edged side to Diana, but the softer, more vulnerable side as well. I hope to see a lot more of her in the near future.

The film won many awards at Sundance, and happened to do well considering that most of the two months it was out, it was only in limited release at less than 100 theatres. Please don't be confused by the title. This is not a soft core piece of fluff, nor is it a film for girls.

This is a film for everyone.
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on September 9, 2005
No Wonder Michelle Rodriguez was recognized for this role, she was amazing. Because of the content of this moive, I'm glad the director chose a local girl to play Diana Gúzman. Michelle's acting, thought relatively new, was sincere in every aspect of the word. A girl who is trying to make something of her life at a young age is very rare now-a-days. This a great movie for the younger generation. It portrays hope, desire, ambition, drive, whatever you want to call it. The directing was great: the city scenes, the fighting scenes, and the family scenes sucked you into a world of struggle and survival. I recommend this movie with all sincerity.
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on October 15, 2014
Motivating and inspiring movie. Beautifully shot, capturing New York at its dirty grimy best. Simple but powerful story, meticulously written, and stunningly performed by Michelle Rodriguez. Still her best film. Amazing supporting cast. Makes you want to jump up and cheer.
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on January 6, 2015
From the looks through being in tough times at school and home, just got to get something into helpful guides on to be what you really wanna do for showing yourself believing. Girlfight is not about doing the sport you want to take out, it's about being the person you want to become with your life.
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on February 2, 2016
I have the movie and love it!!! Always loved Michelle Rodriguez!!! She is a kick ass actress love her in this. I have tons of her movies and she is prob one of the better tough girls in high packed action movies!!!
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