by Mark Adams, published on April 4, 2010|
Ellen Page, Juliette Lewis, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Zoe Bell
Teenager Bliss Cavendar (Page) grows unhappy with her small-town Texan life, but after watching a roller derby event she decides to try out for the team. When invited to join she adopts the name of Babe Ruthless as her alter-ego roller derby character.
She learns to love the lifestyle, experiences first love with the singer of an indie rock band, fights with her mother and finds a supportive family with the roller derby girls.
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The verdict The wonderfully entertaining Whip It is a joyous delve into the murky world of all-women roller derbies, with Ellen Page (so good in Juno) perfect as the young woman who comes of age with the support of her wild and wacky skater buddies.
Whip It - which is the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore - is warm, honest and a triumph in terms of smart entertainment.
Ellen Page is perfect at playing a bright-but-disaffected youth, and she is spot-on as a frustrated 17-year-old who starts to rebel against her mother's passion for beauty pageants. Bliss just knows she needs to do something else with her young life - and opportunity comes when she watches the stylishly strange oddball violence of the roller derby, where rough-and-tumble goes alongside skating skills.
Naturally there are some life lessons to be learned along the way, but the film smartly doesn't take the easy routes, and it is to Barrymore's credit that she has crafted a smart women's film that is about self-empowerment and friendship as well as skating.
It is also very funny and packed with some impressive roller scenes. A darn funny film that's big-hearted and compassionate.
A truly cool and classy chick flick.