Fitting In | TIFF 2023 | Review by: Stefano Bove

 Fitting In is a coming of age film for a new generation that deals with reproductive issues and gender identity. Following up from her breakout debut, Mary Goes Round, Molly McGlynn crafted this semi- autobiographical story about a 16 year old, Lindy (Maddie Ziegler) who discovers she has a rare reproductive issue named Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, which means she doesn’t have a uterus or cervix and has a shortened vaginal canal. Faced with this new health issue, Lindy's world is flipped upside down as she must grapple with her new reality that will not allow her to have sex for the foreseeable future. This new realization puts every relationship she has in a spiral as she struggles to balance relationships, school, and extracurriculars. All of her friends are dealing with regular high schooler drama and she constantly has to deal with her own issues and daily routines and exams if she ever wants to "fix" her issue.  

This new unknown territory for Lindy gives her a new perspective and opportunity to explore her sexuality, and gender identity and what it means to be a woman without a menstrual cycle, cervix or uterus. This exploration comes when meeting Jax (Ki Griffin) who is intersex and in a similar situation to Lindy's. Lindy (and myself) learn a lot about intersex and being non-binary as she explores her options. 

Any fan of Shitt's Creek will be happy to see Emily Hampshire as Lindy's mom, Rita. She is a very comforting, understanding millennial mother who is Lindy's guide though all of this. Rita is ready to have the difficult conversations and opens up about issues she also went through in life. Their trauma brings them closer as they both open up about their relationships and health issues.

Knowing that Fitting In is a coming of age story, my ignorant male self thought that "Fitting in" was going to be about Lindy trying to fit in with people her age or trying to make friends but it obviously has a dual meaning that I did not clue into until I began watching. I will never know what it is like to be a woman let alone a teenage woman growing up and learning all she needs to know about her menstrual cycle, fertility and peer pressure but Fitting In allowed me to see the struggles that come with it. 

Fitting In is a refreshing addition to the coming of age genre. Some scenes may make you uneasy but it is all part of learning and understanding difficulties that Woman may be going through. The next opportunity to see Fitting In will be at the Vancouver International Film Festival.

Review by: Stefano Bove

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