Michelle Rodriguez gives an Oscar-worthy performance as Diana Guzman, a sullen high school girl who finds herself in the boxing ring. The movie makes a heartfelt impact because the feel-good story includes some stark realism -- gritty cinematography portrays Diana's bleak life in the projects, and Rodriguez and a fine supporting cast believably convey her tense relationship with her father, the awkwardness of her attraction to a male competitor, and the amateur flavor of the matches.
Rodriguez is consistently riveting and displayed to great advantage here; A. O. Scott of The New York Times aptly compared her to Marlon Brando in his "smoldering prime." The music fittingly drives the tension without being too intrusive, including a flamenco-inspired theme and a great closing song by the great Queen Latifah that fittingly celebrates female power ("I Can Do Too"). GIRLFIGHT has a similar story arc to BILLY ELLIOTT but much more of an edge. This movie will make you smile.
Presented by Latino Network and Hollywood Theatre.
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