It’s unusual (and therefore always appreciated) to see teens portrayed authentically in the movies. Too often, the slang is all wrong, the references are outdated, and the situations are enough to make a real-life teen roll their eyes hard. That’s a significant part of why Molly McGlynn’s empathetic drama Fitting In succeeds: As it tells the story of high schooler Lindy (Maddie Ziegler) and her journey to accepting the differences that set her apart from her peers, it always feels real.

Lindy is a talented athlete who’s thinking she might be ready to have sex with her could-be-a-boyfriend, Adam (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai). But then she finds out that the reason she’s never had her period is more than just being a late bloomer like her single mom, Rita (Schitt’s Creek‘s Emily Hampshire): Lindy has Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome, a congenital disorder often associated with being intersex that typically results in an underdeveloped vagina and uterus. It means Lindy won’t be able to get pregnant, carry a baby, or have sex without significant discomfort (at the very least) — and it tilts her whole world on its axis.

As Lindy learns more about MRKH and explores its impact on her identity, she pushes boundaries, tests the limits of friendships old and new, and begins to accept — and embrace — the new facts of her life. In telling Lindy’s story, McGlynn, who both wrote and directed the film, shows how hard it can be for girls and women to deviate from norms and expectations. Lindy is mocked by her peers when her personal information gets out, condescended to by the doctors she sees, and even paraded around like a sideshow attraction.

Ziegler’s genuine performance makes Lindy both appealing and sympathetic. Her scenes with her bestie, Viv (Djouliet Amara), ring true and bring to mind the British series Sex Education, which is another recent media success story in terms of addressing many of the complex, mature topics related to teen sexuality in a frank, honest way. There’s never an ounce of shame in Fitting In, only empathy and support for a girl who suddenly has to change her vision of herself and her future.
Betsy Bozdech

Team #MOTW’s comments:

Leslie Combemale Wow, what a beautiful, original narrative about navigating life with a female body in a man’s world. There’s no victimhood in writer/director Molly McGlynn’s coming of age dramedy Fitting In, just teens figuring things out and finding a way to prioritize self-acceptance over fitting into a cisgendered society’s expectations. McGlynn has created one of the most female-centric stories I’ve ever seen. The story is of Lindy, who discovers she has MRKH Syndrome, which means she’ll never have a period, has no vaginal canal or uterus, and will never bear children. McGlynn comes by the film’s perspective honestly, having the rare reproductive disorder herself. Read full review.

Sherin Nicole “I’m not normal. You’re not normal.” That line is the battle cry of liberation in Fitting In. Written and directed by Molly McGlynn, this tale of teenaged awakening focuses on the upheaval that detonates when Lindy (Maddie Ziegler) realizes she’s not what society calls “normal.” Played with saucy realness by Ziegler, tentative bravado by Djouliet Amara, and gentle fortitude by Ki Griffin, Fitting In rejoices in dismantling our quests for an idea of normalcy that the government or the guardians or the school board tells us is who we are supposed to be. Read full review.

Loren King Fitting In is hardly a typical movie about teen angst, sexuality and fraught friendships. It has all those elements but Canadian writer-director Molly McGlynn layers them into her wholly original take on a girl’s coming of age. Fitting In is about 16 year-old Lindy (Maddie Zeigler) as she navigates the rough waters of sex, gender and body image after she is diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser (MRKH) syndrome, a surprisingly not uncommon congenital condition that means she doesn’t menstruate, has a small vaginal canal and no uterus. This fact will be an education to many but there’s nothing clinical about the film which handles its story and characters with both humor and substance. Read full review.

Jennifer Merin Fitting In. writer/director Molly McGlynn’s coming of age drama. centers on Lindy, a popular and athletic 16-year-old girl who is embarrassed to admit to her girlfriends and mother that she has not yet begun to menstruate. Concern about this leads her to a gynecological exam where she learns that she has Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome, a rare congenital disorder that affects the female reproductive system. It is often associated with intersex physicality. To be specific, Lindy’s body has no vaginal canal and no uterus. She is unable to have sexual intercourse and she cannot bare children. That’s traumatic news for a teenager who is on the verge of womanhood. The narrative follows the indomitable Lindy as she explores the alternatives paths she might take to be as ‘normal’ as possible. In her sensitive performance as Lindy, Maddie Zeigler brings to the role an authentic angst that is both engaging and heartbreaking. But the film isn’t only about Lindy’s angst. It’s about Lindy working her way through the trauma and figuring out what to do to live her best life, This narrative film, like the documentary Every Body, brings a rare and daunting human condition to greater public awareness and understanding.

Nell Minow: Fitting In is a fitting title, literal and metaphor. The real lesson of the film is that we’re all trying to fit in, when we should realize that the world can embrace us as we are, especially when we learn to embrace ourselves.

Sandie Angulo Chen:​ Writer-director Molly McGlynn’s teen drama Fitting In is a tender and informative story about a young woman who discovers that she has no vaginal canal or uterus because of MRKH Syndrome, a rare congenital disorder. The film explores the physical and emotional toll of the diagnosis for Lindy (Maddie Ziegler), who just wants to be a typical cis woman who can hook up with her boyfriend. Ziegler does a commendable job capturing Lindy’s confusion and trauma, and Schitt’s Creek fan-favorite Emily Hampshire stands out as Lindy’s empathetic single mom. A candid and touching movie about a little-known condition.

Nikki Fowler: Maddie Ziegler is fantastic as Lindy in Molly McGlynn’s comedy Fitting In, a coming of age story about a teen living with her single mom who is quite messy in her late grandmother’s home and her newly diagnosed condition, Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome, which left her body with no uterus and a short vaginal canal. The news comes at the worst time as Lindy begins to explore her sexuality with a guy at school only to be put into a chaotic tailspin amongst her peers, her doctors and her mom who means well but isn’t the best on the what to say scorecard. Ziegler and the cast have a natural, smart and matter of fact dialogue which is so fitting and refreshing for a new generation having the tough conversations on gender, sex and the reproductive system. Fitting In is funny and therapeutic for those who at times, fail to feel included and also to be seen.

Liz Whittemore Fitting In tells the story of a young woman diagnosed with a reproductive condition that makes being a teenager even more complicated than it already is. Heart, humor, and bona fide complexity propel the film forward from start to finish. The film features solid performances. D’Pharaoh Woon-a-tai plays Adam with a beautiful balance of hormones and vulnerability. Ki Griffin gives genuine life to Jax, acting as an educator for Lindy and the audience. Their casting is essential to the film’s message and authenticity. Djouliet Amara is magnetic playing Vivian. Writer-director Molly McGlynn gives Amara and Zeigler a grounded friendship and female empowerment. Emily Hampshire is Lindy’s mother, Rita. She is a fighter and as much of a mess as any mother is at any given moment. Hampshire is funny, kind, and unfiltered. Maddie Zeigler portrays sixteen-year-old Lindy, a high school student navigating far beyond the typical teenage angst. Dealing with issues like sexuality, gender fluidity, and identity in the fumbling manner this role requires. Zeigler bravely tackles sensitive subjects and intimate scenes with the depth of a performer beyond her years. Hampshire and Zeigler’s chemistry is spectacular. Their mother-daughter push and pull feels undeniably organic. The cinematography is beautiful, and the score is charming. The screenplay is equally unique and completely tangible. Fitting In is a fantastic conversation starter watch for families.

Cate Marquis Writer-director Molly McGlynn sensitively handles Lindy’s struggle with her life-changing news, but as serious as this subject is, the director balances the tone by injecting a little gentle humor and adding a bit of information on intersex people and other human variations in sex organs, especially through an intersex character Jax (Ki Griffin). Fitting In follows Lindy’s efforts to find a way to cope, while touching on common real-world issues for teens like feelings about their bodies, fitting in socially, identity struggles, teen-parent communication, and also bullying, gossip, and toxic social media. The result is a teen dramedy that is surprisingly likable, as well as a warm and honest film about a teen finding her own way. Read full review.

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