Girlfight

If the chip on high school senior Diana Guzman's (Michelle Rodriguez) shoulder were any bigger it would have its own wardrobe. Her mother committed suicide years earlier, her father Sandro (Paul Calderon) adores his son Tiny (Ray Santiago) but looks right through her and they live in Brooklyn's violent Red Hook projects, where girls' futures lean heavily...read more

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If the chip on high school senior Diana Guzman's (Michelle Rodriguez) shoulder were any bigger it would have its own wardrobe. Her mother committed suicide years earlier, her father Sandro (Paul Calderon) adores his son Tiny (Ray Santiago) but looks right

through her and they live in Brooklyn's violent Red Hook projects, where girls' futures lean heavily to early motherhood and a life of dependence on undependable men. Diana's seething fury erupts regularly at school; she's shunned by her classmates and is in serious danger of being expelled. And

then Sandro, who's busy playing cards, sends her down to the gym to pay Tiny's boxing trainer, Hector (Jaime Tirelli). Scrawny Tiny, a self-proclaimed nerd, couldn't care less about boxing; he only does it to make his dad happy. But Diana falls in love with the ring and persuades the reluctant

Hector to take her on as a student. Boxing gives Diana a goal and an outlet for her anger; it also introduces her to handsome Adrian (Santiago Douglas) under circumstances that make it possible for them to get to know one another. So yes, this is a classic tale of an underdog making good in the

gritty world of boxing, but that doesn't make it ROCKY in a sport bra. Writer-director Karyn Kusama's impressive feature debut is an affecting coming-of-age drama whose story is familiar without being hackneyed (like, say, PRICE OF GLORY), and it's galvanized by first-timer Rodriguez's utterly

natural performance. She's got solid support from the rest of the cast, especially Calderon — his Sandro is a bad dad without being a caricatured beast — and Tirelli, who's surprisingly subtle in the role of the crusty old trainer revitalized by his promising student. It's enough to

restore your faith in independent filmmaking and Sundance buzz.

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  • Released: 2000
  • Rating: R
  • Review: If the chip on high school senior Diana Guzman's (Michelle Rodriguez) shoulder were any bigger it would have its own wardrobe. Her mother committed suicide years earlier, her father Sandro (Paul Calderon) adores his son Tiny (Ray Santiago) but looks right… (more)

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