Our resident movie wench Renee A has recently been busy with such unimportant life events as buying a house and getting married. Thankfully, she's now put such trivialities behind her and can get back to the important stuff, like watching movies and giving us a rundown on why you should or shouldn't fork over $15 to see it. Or $6 if it's straight-to-dvd.
Having just returned from a glorious honeymoon in New Zealand, and facing the inevitable return to work depression, I needed a movie that was going to make me feel good and Whip It seemed like just the thing. Directed by Drew Barrymore and starring adorable Juno actress Ellen Page, Whip It follows teenager Bliss Cavendar’s (Page) discovery of roller derby while trying to negotiate the usual teenage issues of boys, friends, parental expectations and deciding one’s future.
Sure, the plot for Whip It isn’t mind-blowingly original; it follows the usual sports movie formula (including the training montage and will they/won’t they win finale) but I’m at a complete loss to find anything negative to say about it. Page was great as Bliss, the quiet quirky girl trying to find her own identity, and she was surrounded by a talented supporting cast including Barrymore, Marcia Gay Harden and Alia Shawkat (Maeby from Arrested Development). The thing I loved most about this movie is that it’s full of positive female relationships. And it was great to watch a movie where the girls weren’t just sidelined as the girlfriend/wife/mother of the protagonist – they were all front and centre.
I made a pleasant discovery while watching this film too – ROLLER DERBY IS AWESOME. It’s a sport where girls get to be tough and sexy and have loads of fun while wearing rollerskates. Rollerskates, people! None of this inline skate crap. Oh no, this is old school. And they get to have silly names (my personal favourite was Smashley Simpson). In fact I was so inspired by this movie that I have since researched the roller derby scene in Tassie and have discovered that we have our very own league. I might even go and check it out (which is kind of a big deal for me – sports activities and me are like oil and water, or other such unmixy things)...
I give Whip It four out of five shiny retro rollerskates.