Knocking down stereotypes left and right, Girlfight shows a young adult who breaks the barriers of boxing. This was Michelle Rodriguez’s first film, and her career has going in full throttle ever since. After 2000, she has done films like Avatar, Fast and Furious, and Lost (the T.V. series) She plays Diana Guzman, our fiery tempered heroine from the housing projects of Red Hook. She lives with her younger brother, Tiny (played by Ray Santiago), who is an aspiring artist, along with her single father, Sandro (played by Paul Calderon). Later in the film Sandro admits to being an abusive husband, and was a catalyst for Diana in her success, negatively speaking. Her home life is disconnected, eventually replaced by the boxing gym.
In school, Diana would be officially labeled as an “at-risk, troubled teenager.” Another argument, another fight, another day. Threats to be expelled were unheeded and thrown to the side, putting self-worth and standing up for one’s self over education. In a fictional movie, it works as an idealistic moral value. Diana realizes that she’s been boxing her whole life, but not in the setting of a ring. She ends up at a Brooklyn boxing gym, eager to convince the trainer to help her be a better boxer and individual. At first, the men involved with the small yet prestigious gym took her request with jest. The trainer was sitting around the table with the others, questioning whether they would integrate the sport for the girl. In what it seems to be an eternity, a smug expression challenged the girl, asking if aerobics were more suitable for her. With an aggressive and passionate response, she asked the rhetorical question of “Did I ask you?” She stared into people’s eyes, and the intensity and fire showed. The gym was a sanctuary for Diana, as well as a place to prove herself. She adopted her trainer as her all-purpose father, seeking the love and challenges he provided her.
The dread-headed teen girl broke through when the state announced that females may fight against the male boxers. She tests her limits, learning new moves and even a unique perspective on life. You could argue that this movie follows the script of a Rocky movie, and I would agree with you. In the second half of the movie, Diana meets a handsome boxer named Adrian. At this point, the sport pop-culture genre of the movie switches to more of a romance/drama flick. They fell into a tranced love. Priorities of love and boxing were conflicting and were a huge obstacle in both boxer’s lives. She appreciated that he hit hard in the ring with her, treating her as a worthy opponent and wouldn’t hold back just because of her gender. As inferred by my last sentence, some of her opponents fought “easy” on her because she was female.
The camera angle, located very close to the ring, provides intimacy and realism to the viewer. Michelle Rodriguez is in the center of the picture and did a stellar job portraying her character. Her athletic clothing hugged her body, showing her build. The attitude of her character was dynamic and complimented the message of the movie.
Diana turns into a mature young women, different from her sloppy adolescent past. Fighting was a release and she learned how to control herself through it. The movie was an independent film. A very low budget can still provide a powerful message and win awards as well! The film won the grand prize for a U.S. drama movie from Sundance, along with a directing award. The empowering film shows a path of self-worth, success, and gender neutrality. Even though it is Rated-R for language, Girlfight will leave you speechless after watching.