Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Onur Tukel|
|Written by||Onur Tukel|
|Edited by||Onur Tukel|
|Distributed by||Dark Sky Films|
Catfight is an American action black comedy film directed and written by Onur Tukel and starring Sandra Oh, Anne Heche, Alicia Silverstone, Amy Hill, Myra Lucretia Taylor, Ariel Kavoussi, Craig Bierko, Tituss Burgess, and Dylan Baker. The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2016, before being released in a limited release and through video on demand on March 3, 2017, by Dark Sky Films.
The film opens showing the lives of two women, outsider artist Ashley Miller (Heche) and wealthy housewife Veronica Salt (Oh). Ashley is struggling to sell her dark and apocalyptic artwork, straining her relationship with her girlfriend Lisa, and she is also verbally abusive to her assistant Sally. Veronica, meanwhile, is an alcoholic who is treated with disdain by her husband Stanley, and although she loves her son Kip dearly, she carelessly mocks his drawing talent. Both women watch a political news show that reports escalating tension between the United States and the Middle East.
Stanley throws a birthday party for his business partner. Lisa, who is catering the party, forces Ashley to help her. While tending the bar, Veronica comes for a drink and the two women recognize each other from college - they were once friends, until Veronica suddenly stopped speaking to Ashley for unclear reasons. Although they both try to make pleasant small talk, they quickly offend each other and descend into bitter verbal barbs. After getting drunk, Veronica is told to leave by her husband, and she runs into Ashley smoking in the stairwell. The two sling hateful insults at each other, leading to a violent fight. Ashley ends up getting the upper hand, punching Veronica multiple times in the face before leaving. Veronica, badly injured, attempts to stand up but collapses down the stairs, falling into a coma.
Two years later, Veronica awakens in the hospital with no memory of her fight with Ashley. She is horrified to learn that while she was in a coma, her husband died in a car accident, her son died after voluntarily joining the military to fight the war in the Middle East, and all of her money was spent to pay for her treatment. Now broke and alone, Veronica moves in with her former housekeeper Donna and gets a job as a maid. Meanwhile, Ashley has become a famous artist after the war causes her dark paintings to become popular. She and Lisa also decide to start a family, and Ashley is successfully impregnated after they use a sperm donor; however, Ashley and Lisa's differing beliefs on how to prepare for the baby and raise it cause their relationship to once again become estranged.
One day while cleaning a hotel room, Veronica finds a magazine with Ashley on the front cover, and is annoyed that her old college friend is now successful. Veronica clashes with Donna over their opinions about the war, and she is forced to move in with her mentally unstable Aunt Charlie. Before leaving New York, Veronica finds a video recording left to her by Kip, who reveals he left art school to join the army because he believed it would make Veronica proud. Veronica breaks down in tears. Later, a drunk Veronica goes to the opening of Ashley's new gallery. When she sees a painting depicting her own bloodied face, Veronica suddenly remembers their fight and realizes Ashley is the reason she lost everything. Veronica goes into a rage and begins destroying the paintings, and Ashley is shocked to see her when she tries to stop her. Veronica punches Ashley and runs off with the painting of her face. Ashley runs after her into a construction site, where the two begin brutally beating each other with various tools. Veronica manages to overpower Ashley and hits her over the head several times with a wrench. Satisfied with her revenge, Veronica stumbles away. Ashley attempts to stand up, but a cinder block falls and hits her in the head, and she falls into a coma.
Two more years pass. Ashley awakens in the hospital and discovers that she lost her baby during the coma, Lisa has left her to begin a family with a man, and she is completely broke after all of her paintings were sold to pay her hospital bills. The United States has won the war on terror and completely westernized the Middle East, meaning that her dark art style has suddenly lost all popularity. Sally, meanwhile, has become immensely famous and wealthy after her comics about happy blue bunnies became popular after the end of the war. Ashley is now forced to work for her former assistant and attempts to begin painting again, only to find she is physically unable to do so because of her injuries, meaning her art career is ruined forever. Ashley has lost everything - just as Veronica did.
One night, Ashley asks Sally why she is being nice to her, and Sally unapologetically admits that she enjoys seeing Ashley so miserable because of the cruel treatment she received while working for her. Enraged, Ashley begins destroying the few possessions she has left, only to discover a bus ticket to Pennsylvania. Ashley realizes that the bus ticket belongs to Veronica. During the last two years, Veronica has been caring for her Aunt Charlie out in the middle of the woods, and has come to enjoy living away from the rest of the world. Veronica is surprised when Ashley suddenly appears at her home. Ashley blames Veronica for her misery, and intends to "destroy" her. Veronica calmly offers to make her breakfast beforehand, and Ashley reluctantly accepts.
While the two women eat, they discover that they have some things in common - they both hated the war with the Middle East, but didn't let that hate stop them from profiting off of it, and both of them deeply miss their lost children. Veronica shows Ashley the camera full of recordings made by Kip while he was deployed, and confesses that watching the clips makes her feel like her son is still with her, and has helped her overcome her anger and sadness towards Ashley. Ashley is moved, and for a moment it seems as though the two will be able to reconcile. However, Ashley accidentally spills her coffee onto the camera, frying it. Veronica freaks out, revealing she never backed up the files on the camera, and blames Ashley for destroying it. Ashley gets mad and calls Veronica an idiot. The two begin fighting for the third time, taking their brawl from the house and into the woods. The fight starts out just as brutal as their previous fights, but it soon loses all passion, and the two women end up just sitting on the ground punching each other over and over again as they both break down sobbing.
Aunt Charlie watches the two fight from the window. The video camera suddenly reboots, revealing it wasn't broken after all, and showing that all of Ashley and Veronica's fighting is completely pointless.
- Sandra Oh as Veronica 
- Anne Heche as Ashley 
- Alicia Silverstone as Lisa 
- Ivana Miličević as Rachel
- Peter Jacobson as Carl
- Myra Lucretia Taylor as Donna
- Amy Hill as Aunt Charlie
- Damian Young as Stanley
- Tituss Burgess as John
- Jordan Carlos as Howie
- Giullian Yao Gioiello as Kip
- Dylan Baker as Doctor Jones
- Ariel Kavoussi as Sally
- Stephen Gevedon as Tom Ferguson
- Annie McCain Engman as Christie
- Marisa Vitali as Debbie
The film had its world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival on September 9, 2016. Shortly after, Dark Sky Films acquired distribution rights to the film, and set it for a March 3, 2017, limited release and through video on demand.
On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 73% based on 59 reviews, and an average rating of 6.1/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Smart, suitably nasty, and well-cast, Catfight lands narrative punches just as fast and hard-hitting as the physical violence doled out onscreen." On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score 66 out of 100 based 17 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
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- Lee, Ashley (January 26, 2017). "'Catfight' Nabbed by Dark Sky Films, Sets March Release". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved January 26, 2017.
- "Catfight (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved December 15, 2018.
- "Catfight Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved October 14, 2017.