Whip It!

Bliss (The lovable Ellen Page) is a small town teen in Texas, just waiting for the day when her mother (the always wonderful Marcia Gay Harden) no longer forces her to enter into silly beauty pageants and she can get out of the small town of ‘Bodeen’.  Her best friend, Pash (Alia Shawkat from Arrested Development, all grown up and still funny as all hell) shares the same feeling and is applying to Ivy League schools as her escape. 

On a shopping trip to Austin, Bliss comes across a poster for the upcoming woman’s Roller Derby event which the girls sneak out to see by convincing Bliss’s dad (Daniel Stern) that they are going to see a football game.  Right from the start, Bliss is hooked and when Maggie Mayhem (Kristin Wigg, who is my favorite character in this film) suggests Bliss should try out, she does, winning the coveted spot on the Hurl Scouts and where ‘Babe Ruthless’ is born!

Bliss quickly becomes one of the ‘Jammers’ due to her speed and a rivalry is formed with Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis, who I’ve missed and was quite happy to see) from one of the other teams.This is great coming of age story.  It also works well with the ‘girl power’ genre as well as the ‘follow you heart story line’. 

For a directorial debut, I thought this was the perfect choice for Drew Barrymore.  She did not have to stretch too far beyond her limits (as I think making anything more dramatic would have been a mistake first time out) and kept everything light and fun!This was a very cheerful film, the kind of flick you put on when you’ve had a rough day and nothing seems to be going right, or simply if you are just feeling stuck!  I found myself happy for Bliss and I’ve always felt that if a movie invokes any kind of emotion (other than ‘this movie sucks’ that’s not a good emotion to have!), then you’ve done your job as a filmmaker.

Be Your Own Hero – great message really, isn’t it?

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