Whip It (2009) – with Ellen Page, the star of Juno

If you are in the mood for a light and cheerful entertainment, you will enjoy this coming-of-age film about a young girl falling in love with the roller derby. Whip It is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, based on an autobiographical novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross. The main character is Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page, the star of Juno), a seventeen-year-old trying to escape the depressing monotony of her small-town life and just be herself. She goes to school, works as a waitress, and attends beauty pageant competitions at the behest of her mother, a former beauty queen. What she desperately wants however is to get away and live an exciting life of her own. Rebelling against the conservative idea of womanhood imposed on her by her family, she secretly visits roller derby trainings, lies about her age, makes the team, and discovers her incredible talent for roller skating. Daring to “be her own hero”, she creates an alter-ego Babe Ruthless, and becomes stronger, braver and wiser in the process.

The unusual choice of the sport brings freshness to the film. Contrary to what you might believe, Roller Derby is a contact sport that can be pretty rough and painful. It is played by two teams of five members. Jammers score for each member from the opposite team they pass. The rest of the team attempts to hinder or knock down the opposing jammer while assisting their own. The sport has an entire gothic-punk subculture built around it, with flamboyant costumes and players choosing stage names that highlight the violence of the sport. Thus, other Derby girls in the film are known as Smashley Simpson (Drew Barrymore), Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig), Eva Destruction (Ari Graynor) and fiercely competitive Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis).

Rowdy and rebellious yet endearing, incredibly entertaining and simply admirable this is the movie that will make you let go and enjoy the exciting ride.

Whip It (2009)
Whip It poster Rating: 6.9/10 (55,662 votes)
Director: Drew Barrymore
Writer: Shauna Cross (screenplay), Shauna Cross (novel)
Stars: Sarah Habel, Shannon Eagen, Edward Austin Kelly, Mary Callaghan Lynch
Runtime: 111 min
Rated: PG-13
Genre: Drama, Sport
Released: 02 Oct 2009
Plot: In Bodeen, Texas, an indie-rock loving misfit finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin.

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