'Fitting In' - The Unusual Life of a Teenage Girl

"Fitting In" via IMDb.

The double meaning of “Fitting In” (Blue Fox), the title of writer/director Molly McGlynn’s second feature film, is a good place to begin this review. Because the main character Lindy (Maddie Ziegler) is a 16-year-old high school, the concept of fitting into the complex and often challenging social situations in which 21st century (or any century, for that matter) teenagers find themselves, the title has that covered with no problem.

The additional meaning of the title may, for most viewers, be a new subject, one which might have more than a few people squirming in their seats. Lindy is concerned that she hasn’t begun to menstruate. Lindy’s mother Rita (Emily Hampshire), a therapist in need of therapy herself, isn’t really much help to her. Lindy is even reluctant to tell her boy-crazy BFF Vivian (Djouliet Amara) that she hasn’t gotten her period yet. When she finally sees a doctor the experience is a negative one that frightens her.

Eventually, she makes an appointment with another doctor at a teaching hospital where she is told that a “majority of her vaginal canal is absent.” She undergoes more tests, including a CT scan during which the song “Barbie Girl” (!), plays in her headphones. With Rita by her side, Lindy gets her diagnosis. She has a congenital disorder known as MRKH Syndrome. She has ovaries, but nothing else; no uterus, cervix, or vaginal canal, and just one inch of depth.

This is where the other meaning of the title comes in. Another doctor provides Lindy with a box of various-sized dilaters so that she may begin a regimen of “vaginal boot camp,” attempting to expand her vaginal canal. If all of this sounds a little technical, “Fitting In” does have educational and informative components.

However, the movie is considered a “traumedy,” so it has the elements you might expect. Aside from the usual single mother/daughter interactions, which elicit laughs and tears in equal measure, issues of friendship and romance are explored. Lindy has a crush on hot classmate Adam (D'Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), he of the cheekbones that could cut glass, who shares her feelings. She also enlists fast food worker and virgin Chad (Dale Whibley) in her quest to deal with her condition.

As it turns out, the most significant relationship in Lindy’s life is with non-binary classmate Jax (Ki Griffin), whom she sees as a kind of kindred spirit. As with her other relationships, Lindy often says and does things that could jeopardize her budding friendship with Jax, the one person who has the potential to help Lindy navigate her situation.

Ziegler’s portrayal of Lindy is the main reason to see this movie. She approaches the character with a sense of purpose and commitment, giving Lindy an authenticity that keeps “Fitting In” on track.

Rating: B-


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