Girlfight Reviews

Top Critic
Richard Schickel
TIME Magazine
August 1, 2008
It gives its fine actors room to breathe and behave -- and in Michelle Rodriguez's case, glow.
Top Critic
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
April 27, 2007
For once, the advance buzz has been amply justified, thanks to an extraordinarily charismatic film debut by a non-professional named Michelle Rodriguez.
Top Critic
Matt Wolf
Associated Press
March 26, 2007
For all the violence on view, Kusama's script insists on a real, wholly unsentimental tenderness.
Top Critic
Geoff Andrew
Time Out
February 9, 2006
Kusama's direction is imaginative, her attention to detail makes for credibility and clarity with regard to the dilemmas faced by her determined young heroine, and Rodriguez is quite astonishing in the lead role.
Top Critic
Louis B. Parks
Houston Chronicle
July 21, 2005
It's obvious Kusama knew what she wanted and was in control, because all the key roles and scenes are played with a uniform tone and conviction.
Full Review | Original Score: B
Top Critic
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
June 18, 2002
While it wonderfully confounds our narrative expectations as a coming-of-age story and a romantic drama, it works on another level as a great sporting experience.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
March 19, 2002
The script is pure Rocky but the style is Girlz n' the Hood, and the two don't ever mesh.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Top Critic
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
May 8, 2001
Rodriguez smolders with the beauty and intensity of a born star, and Kusama keeps her fearlessly on her feet with a movie that ducks no punches.
| Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
January 1, 2000
This is On the Waterfront by way of Flashdance but without the cheesy conceits.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Steve Murray
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
January 1, 2000
A crowdpleaser that never sacrifices its brain to the sucker-punch tricks of so many Hollywood films.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
J. Hoberman
Village Voice
January 1, 2000
A near-irresistible button-pusher that's agile enough to hold a mirror to its own aspirations.
Top Critic
Paul Tatara
CNN.com
January 1, 2000
This is a very winning debut film that features a powerful central performance.
Top Critic
Edward Guthmann
San Francisco Chronicle
January 1, 2000
It's a fierce performance, not because Rodriguez is a seasoned actress -- she's not -- but because she brings such a magnificent, 'prove-it-to-me' snarl to the role.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Jay Carr
Boston Globe
January 1, 2000
[Rodriguez] and this film that respects her by rendering her and her world in unadorned realistic terms, bypassing cheap prefab myths, are twin blasts of fresh air.
Top Critic
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
January 1, 2000
Kusama scores big points in her first main event.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Top Critic
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
January 1, 2000
An intelligent, gutsy debut combo from Ms. Kusama and Ms. Rodriguez.
Top Critic
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
January 1, 2000
Rodriguez, a newcomer, seems to have a natural affinity for the camera. Her Diana hungers, she cares, she is easily wounded and quick to defend herself, and all of those qualities are simply there every scene.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Ernest Hardy
Film.com
January 1, 2000
One of this year's most fresh and exhilarating movies.
Top Critic
A.O. Scott
New York Times
January 1, 2000
[Rodriguez] looks a little like Marlon Brando in his smoldering prime, and she has some of his slow, intense physicality. She doesn't so much transcend gender as redefine it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
January 1, 2000
Will please many. It's a shame it's no knockout.
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
January 1, 2000
Crafted and emotionally satisfying.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Charles Taylor
Salon.com
January 1, 2000
There's just enough genuine grit and spirit in Girlfight to keep it from being knocked to the canvas by indie earnestness.
Top Critic
Susan Stark
Detroit News
January 1, 2000
Treat yourself to the jolt it delivers.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Dave McCoy
Seattle Times
January 1, 2000
It's a one-note concept -- a girl rather than boy as young boxer -- that sadly never bothers to examine much beyond its premise.
Top Critic
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
January 1, 2000
Although a combination of familiar genres, Girlfight is refreshing and surprising, the way independent movies are supposed to be.
Top Critic
John Anderson
Newsday
January 1, 2000
Karyn Kusama ... has made a movie as tough-minded as its right-hooking heroine, and just as intelligent.
Top Critic
Peter Rainer
New York Magazine/Vulture
January 1, 2000
[Rodriguez'] performance is an amateur triumph, but the same can't really be said for the film, which doesn't know what to do with Diana's unruliness except to channel it into a feminist fable of empowerment.
Top Critic
Michael Atkinson
Mr. Showbiz
January 1, 2000
Another mediocre Sundance winner that, thanks to an inordinate amount of hype and publicity, now seems far too big for its britches.
Top Critic
Emanuel Levy
Variety
January 1, 2000
A coherent picture that is at once a poignant inner-city drama, a rousing sports movie, an emotional family yarn and, above all, a sweet romance.
Full Review | Original Score: B+
Top Critic
Jonathan Rosenbaum
Chicago Reader
January 1, 2000
While Kusama champions masculinity in women, she offsets it with a range of gender identities and a keen sense of milieu.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
Susan Wloszczyna
USA Today
January 1, 2000
Observing Diana's growth both as a fighter (her muscles seem to pop out before our eyes) and a person is a joy.
Top Critic
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
January 1, 2000
A powerful and empathetic melodrama with feminist underpinnings.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5