Review: ‘Fitting In’

Maddie Ziegler Leads A Coming-Of-Age Traumedy That Is Full Of Laughs And Heart

High school is a time for growth. A time of personal reflection. It’s a chance for teens to try and figure out who they are. It can be difficult for the average kid and Lindy (Maddie Ziegler, soon to be seen in Sundance comedy My Old Ass) is about to find out how difficult things can get in Fitting In. Lindy is just your average sixteen-year-old girl. She’s trying out for the track team with her best friend Vivian (Djouliet Amara). She is also finally spending some quality time with her longtime crush Adam (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai). Of course, her mom Rita (Emily Hampshire) is constantly embarrassing her, but she means well. Rita is a single parent who is going through a lot herself. Her mother recently passed, she is recovering from breast cancer and lost one of her breasts, and is active on the dating app scene.

Despite all that, Rita is still there for Lindy and worries about her. She worries even more as time goes on and Lindy isn’t getting her period. When Lindy is ready to take that next step with Adam, she goes to an OB-GYN for birth control. That’s when she is diagnosed with MRKH syndrome. This diagnosis brought with it the news that Lindy may never be able to carry a child. On top of that she will never have a period and sex will very likely be difficult. Many of the experiences she was looking forward to, possibly ripped away in an instant. Chances to connect with her friends over common experiences just gone. With her entire reality turned on its head, it is time for Lindy to look inside and really figure out who she is.

Molly McGlynn both wrote and directed Fitting In. The movie is only her second feature length film that she has written or directed. She has primarily worked in television. Directing her own screenplays is nothing new with McGlynn having directed all but one of her scripts. However, Fitting In stands apart from the rest. The film is semi-autobiographical, being based on McGlynn’s own story. She was diagnosed with MRKH halfway through high school. McGlynn experienced many of the trials and tribulations that Lindy navigates throughout the movie. Her personal connection to the material translates wonderfully to the film. Fitting In seems so real and authentic because it is and that can’t be understated.

McGlynn manages to broach a very difficult subject in the perfect way. She strikes the right balance between humor and heart, and there is plenty of both. Lindy’s journey of self-discovery is moving, and Ziegler excels in the role. The script itself is top notch – fast paced, believable, touching, and both subtly and blatantly hilarious. McGlynn mixes in just a touch of personal narration, letting us in to Lindy’s mind. It adds a different, and effective, element to Fitting In – allowing the audience further opportunity to connect with Lindy. Throw in solid music choices, sprinkle interesting scene transitions, and great acting all around and you have quite the package. Fitting In may not be for everyone, and it does center around some sensitive topics. However, it is a refreshing coming of age story that is absolutely worth a watch.

Fitting In is in theaters now.