Movie Review: Whip It!
edited: Monday, October 05, 2009
By Donna Maris
Rated "PG" by the Author.
Posted: Monday, October 05, 2009
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Review of newly released movie, from my list of 60+ reviews on Netflix.
This is a sports movie for women, by women, starring women. Drew Barrymore makes an impressive directorial debut with this coming of age story set in the world of Roller Derby.
This film has a rockin’ soundtrack and I suspect men will have little trouble enjoying this.Bliss Cavendar (Page) has grown unhappy with her droll life in Bodean, Texas. Tired of football championed by her father (Stern)and pageantry by her mom (Harden). While her friend Pash plans her ticket out, via an Ivy League college,Bliss literally stumbles across her opportunity during a shopping trip to Austin. She meets some tough skater chicks and picks up their Roller Derby flyer. She attends the game and is captivated immediately by the sport. On a dare, she trains on Barbie skates, lies about her age (21) and tries out for the Hurl Scouts. What we see is her evolution from down trodden Pageant Princess, to confident, successful breakout Roller Derby Queen, Babe Ruthless. She works hard to succeed,and as a result of her new found girl power, she asserts herself and alters her world. She realizes that choice in life has consequence and roller derby gives her a slice of it all: a first romance, disappointment in love, bonds with her new all girl family, arguments with her parents,lying to escape the pageant, and the desire to be brave and begin living what she envisions her life should be,at 17. In turn her new family supports and bullies her, yet exposes her in a raw way, to become her own hero, as well as find new ones.Iron Maven (Lewis) is one such person: nemesis and friendly foe. Jimmy Fallon is hilarious as the smarmy, hot tub loving, emcee. Harden and Stern are really strong parents and finally won over by their daughter's achievement. Juliette Lewis looks better than she ever has and I think this is her best role since Natural Born Killers. Drew Barrymore as Smashely Simpson is hilarious, whether skating or tackling her boyfriend and punching him.
Ellen Page as Bliss brings youth,optimism and exuberance to her game, and threatens the experienced older bad queen, Captain Iron Maven. They have a standout scene where Maven confronts Babe: experienced tigress to ingénue, and Maven rocks her. She knows Babe is underage, and threatens to "out" her. But so goes their rivalry right to the end, just like any great sports movie. The heart and spirit of this sotry is about coming into your own, and doing something against the odds,against your better judgment, taking a risk, growing through it all and sticking with it.
Barrymore has crafted a story that entertains, has you feeling the good and the heartache, and speaks to everyone that is either looking for direction or needs a reminder: find your tribe, become your own hero. 10.05.09