'Fitting In' Is a Coming-of-Age Classic for a New Generation

Directed by Molly McGlynn

Starring Maddie Ziegler, Emily Hampshire, Djouliet Amara, D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Ki Griffin

Photo courtesy of TIFF

BY Rachel HoPublished Sep 10, 2023

There have been many movies made about how hard it is to be a woman; in recent years, these films tend to focus on the terror we feel as we go out on dates or walk down the street. Fitting In takes the more gynaecological route. 

Lindy (Maddie Ziegler) is in that "fun" phase of life where her biggest concerns are her slightly neurotic mother Rita (Emily Hampshire), losing her virginity to her boyfriend Adam (D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), and whether nor not she and best friend Vivian (Djouliet Amara) will make the track team. That is until an incredibly uncomfortable and borderline humiliating medical examination explains her lack of period with a diagnosis of MRKH syndrome — a rare reproductive condition resulting in a missing uterus and cervix, as well as a shortened vaginal canal. 

The semi-autobiographical film from Canadian Molly McGlynn is a tremendous follow-up to her 2017 debut Mary Goes Round. McGlynn builds off the success of Mary Goes Round by telling a story close to her heart, adapting it for a new era where gender identity and fluid sexual preferences are spoken of more openly than in past generations. In the same breath, McGlynn finds the commonalities between the past, the present and the future, footing Lindy's experience as (unfortunately) timeless.

What makes Fitting In work, though, is the performance from Ziegler. From the slight facial movements to the emphatic shouts of adolescence, Ziegler's first-love-joy warms the heart, and her claustrophobic hesitancy to voice her discomfort to her doctor will have every woman in the audience wince and sigh in solidarity. Hers is a refreshing new voice, and one to definitely keep an eye on.

Fitting In is not subtle. It's a film that puts unease and frustration front and centre but without feeling clunky or put-upon. Every generation has a coming-of-age film that defines it, and Fitting In makes a strong case to fill that spot.
(Elevation Pictures)

Latest Coverage