Girlfight is a 2000 American drama film written and directed by Karyn Kusama, starring Michelle Rodriguez. It focuses on Diana Guzman, a troubled teen who decides to channel her aggression by training to become a boxer, despite the skepticism of both her abusive father and the prospective trainers in the male-dominated sport. Girlfight was the directorial debut of Kusama, as well as Rodriguez' breakout role.
The film won the Director's Award the Grand Jury Prize (tied with Kenneth Lonergan's You Can Count on Me) at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival. It also won the Award of the Youth at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival. Rodriguez also accumulated numerous awards and nominations, including major acting accolades from the National Board of Review, Deauville Film Festival, Independent Spirit Awards, Gotham Awards, Las Vegas Film Critics Sierra Awards, and many others.
Michelle Rodriguez as Diana Guzman,
Jaime Tirelli as Hector Soto,
Paul Calderón as Sandro Guzman,
Santiago Douglas as Adrian Sturges,
Ray Santiago as Tiny Guzman,
Victor Sierra as Ray Cortez,
Elisa Bocanegra as Marisol,
Shannon Walker Williams as Veronica,
Louis Guss as Don,
Herb Lovelle as Cal,
Thomas Barbour as Ira,
Tara Strong as Herself,
Reelviews.net gave the film three and a half stars out of four stating, "From first-time director Karyn Kusama, Girlfight is a well crafted and emotionally satisfying debut."
David Denby of The New Yorker said:
This small independent movie is an attempt at roughhouse feminist populism. As a director, Kusama blocks everything out too cleanly, making one point at a time rather than weaving the elements of the atmosphere together. At the end, the movie turns into a fairy tale as Diana falls for a beautiful young male boxer (Santiago Douglas) who adores her and her right hook, too. In a mortifyingly stupid scene, they are forced to fight each other in the ring. The movie may be naïve and underdone, but it has a new, live subject and, in Rodriguez, a powerhouse star who could go a long way.