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Film / Girlfight

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Girlfight is a 2000 American sports drama written and directed by Karyn Kusama and starring Michelle Rodriguez.

In Brooklyn, frustrated teenager Diana Guzman takes up boxing as an outlet for her anger. Despite facing disapproval from her father and a lack of enthusiasm from her potential trainers, she pursues the sport and begins fighting competitively.

This film contains examples of:

  • Abuse Mistake: Diana's father, unaware that she's secretly boxing, thinks her boyfriend struck her when she comes home with a black eye, and confronts him over it despite Diana saying it was just from another fight that she got into.
  • Abusive Parents: When accused by Diana of driving her mother to suicide with abuse, her father strikes her (Diana beats him, since she's trained as a boxer at this point).
  • Action Girl: The story revolves around Diana's goal to become a boxer. She's trained and has several bouts, but even prior to that she got into a lot of fights.
  • Amazon Chaser: Adrian is quickly attracted to tomboy and female boxer Diana. He gets embarrassed when he's beaten by her though, fearing Diana won't respect him as a result (she does however).
  • Boyish Short Hair: Diana actually has long hair, but she achieves this affect during the first half of the movie anyway by pulling it back, making her look like she's just got corn rows, which fits with her tomboy looks.
  • Brooklyn Rage: Diana comes from Brooklyn, and is defined by her hot-tempered, aggressive nature. First she just gets into a lot of fights, but then actually trains as a boxer. Most of the other characters in the film from NYC are only somewhat less like this.
  • Calling the Old Man Out: Diana angrily says her father drove her mother to suicide with his abuse in the second half of the film. He hits her over this, but (having trained as a boxer) she quickly beats him up.
  • Creator Cameo: John Sayles, who helped finance the movie (along with his partner Maggie Renzi), appears in one scene as a teacher.
  • Defeat Means Friendship: Diana and Adrian's relationship begins after he beats her in a boxing match.
  • Domestic Abuse: Diana's father had abused her mother, it turns out.
  • Driven to Suicide: According to Diana, her mom committed suicide because of the abuse she suffered at her father's hands.
  • Establishing Character Moment: Diana beats up a girl who insulted her friend, showing her as a hot-tempered, troubled girl with a chip on her shoulder from the get go.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: In the beginning of the film, Diana has so much difficulty controlling her anger that she starts fights at school.
  • I Was Beaten by a Girl: The men whom Diana beats at boxing (which includes her boyfriend) both are embarrassed by the fact they lost to a woman.
  • Kubrick Stare: Diana stares at the camera in this fashion during the first shot of her.
  • The Lad-ette: Diana is a hot-tempered, violent tomboy who swears freely and in general acts more like a stereotypical Latino tough guy. She propositions her boyfriend, then is disappointed when he turns her down, since he'd promised her father not to. Once she becomes a boxer, this gets enforced even more, with her beating two men in the ring.
  • Lady Swears-a-Lot: Diana is foul-mouthed, dropping a number of f-bombs throughout the film. Some other characters are dismayed and try to have her tone this down, but she doesn't.
  • Missing Mom: Diana's mom died in the past. It's later revealed she killed herself, with Diana accusing her father of driving her into it due to abusing her.
  • Papa Wolf: While Sandro is not the world's greatest dad by any stretch of the imagination, he still goes and confronts Adrian after the latter accidentally gives Diana a black eye during a sparring match.
  • Passionate Sports Girl: Diana, once she discovers boxing, becomes extremely into the sport, channeling her aggression and tendency for fighting into her training. She grows very good, enough to win most of her bouts, including the boys she fights in most cases. She's proud and unapologetic about it, in spite of her father objecting.
  • Spicy Latina: Diana is a textbook case. She's a Latina who is quick-tempered, from a rough background, aggressive and trains as a boxer. She quickly attracts a male boxer and gets involved with him.
  • Stay in the Kitchen: Diana's father and one of the trainers both believe women have no place in boxing. She doesn't let this stop her for even a minute though.
  • Tanktop Tomboy: Diana wears tank tops most times, and is a quintessential tomboy. Together with The Fast and the Furious, this film is why Michelle Rodriguez is typecast as such characters.
  • Wanted a Gender-Conforming Child: Sandro wants Tiny to become a professional boxer and Diana to become a homemaker, but Tiny would rather be an artist and Diana would rather fight.
  • You Go, Girl!: Diana gets to compete against male opponents in her weight class due to a new equity program, beating them both. She only loses one in her four bouts.