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Whip It (2009)

by on 2010/04/19

“Put some skates on, be your own hero.”

* * * *

Let’s take a trip on Barbie roller skates straight to the finish line: Whip It was absolutely, positively delightful.

Not linen napkins, tea in bone china cups and crustless cucumber sandwiches delightful. More elbow to the neck, hip check into the wall, powerful shove to the ground delightful.

Who says girls don’t like a good roll-around-on-the-floor-fists-flying dust up? I know I do, or used to before I became more, ahem, responsible. Whip It gave me a vicarious, thrilling chance to relive evenings spent in the mosh pit, giggling and shoving.

Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut Whip It is a complex coming of age story filled with surprises, humour and a seriously contagious sense of fun.

One of the coolest people living today Ellen Page plays 17-year-old Bliss, a small-town Texas girl forced to smile prettily, do what’s she told and (horrors) enter teen beauty pageants. Not until a visit to an Austin vintage clothing store (and head shop) does her existence turn on its ear when she’s introduced the wide world of roller derby.

Under the pretense of supporting her small-town football team, Bliss sneaks out to meet a quirky cast of cast of characters including Smashley Simpson (Barrymore), Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis), Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig), Rosa Sparks (Eve) and Bloody Holly (Zoe Bell). The antithesis of 1950s womanhood, these hard-slamming, tattooed women become Bliss’ new heroes and change the course of her life.

Now you might worry that a movie about a small-town girl defying her mother’s wishes and redefining her idea of womanhood might be ridden with cliches. I assure you there’s nothing cliché whatsoever about Whip It. Even Bliss’ mother  Brooke who could have been played as a one-dimensional villain of the piece, in Marcia Gay Harden’s capable hands is played with depth and sympathy.

I was in a black depression when I shoved Whip It into my Playstation 3. This film bitch slapped me out of it.

Watch this movie, whatever you do (or else).

* * * *

Rated PG for coarse language and violence.

111 minutes

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