As I sat in the theater Sunday night, I secretly hoped this movie would be good just so I could use the witty title above. However, Whip It far surpassed my expectations. It was AWESOME!
Directed by Drew Barrymore in her directorial debut, and starring Ellen Page of Juno, this movie had every chance of becoming something special, and it sure did.
I can’t even begin to describe how much I loved this movie, but I’m going to do my best.
Ellen Page plays Bliss Cavendar, a small-town girl stuck in a world of beauty pageants, dumb high school pranks and a family that doesn’t understand her. Life trucks along until a shopping trip to Austin, where Bliss is struck by a group of girls who skate happily past, giving out leaflets for a roller derby competition.
Bliss finds a way to attend the competition with the help of her best friend, Pash, played by Alia Shawkat. The story takes off from there, as Bliss befriends a team of hippie punk girls who aren’t afraid to take a punch.
I’d never really thought about roller derby as a sport before, and at first, I cringed at the many falls, cracked ribs and bloody noses involved with the game. By the end of the movie, however, I became swept away by the exhilaration of the race and even felt like breaking out my old pair of skates and giving them a go again.
Ellen Page gives an amazing performance and is steadily becoming one of my new favorite actresses. Drew Barrymore is adorable in this film and did a great job both in front of and behind the camera. Even though some aspects of the plot are fairly predictable, it’s entertaining and touching enough to have you leaving the theater feeling happy and empowered.
So what are you waiting for? It’s time to Whip It.