First-time director Karyn Kusama tells a simple but compelling story of a young woman in Brooklyn whose violent impulses in school, and her tendency to physicalize her anger, lead her to train as a boxer. Her trainer at first puts her off, but the combination of her desire and her physical prowess changes his mind. As played by Michelle Rodriguez, Diane is a scowling lightning rod for sudden violence who discovers that she can find a sense of personal grace in boxing--in the training and in the honing of skills--that seems to spill over into her daily life, despite the disapproval of an abusive father. Kusama isn't telling a new story here, but she tells a familiar one with a sense of passion and pride in the uncharted territory this represents for women. Though a romantic subplot seems almost tacked on as an afterthought--Diane must box the boy she loves--"Girlfight" is engaging and even touching. "-Marshall Fine"