Whip It is Drew Barrymore’s first effort as a director.
Whip It tells the story of quick talking teen, Bliss, (Ellen Page) who finds her calling in the fast paced, brutal, underground world of Roller Derby in Austin, Texas.
Drew Barrymore also stars in the film as ‘Smashley Simpson’, one of the women on the Roller Derby team ‘Hurl Scouts’ that Bliss joins, whilst Juliette Lewis plays for the rival team as ‘Iron Maven’. Bliss, however, also has to battle with her overbearing mother who would prefer her teenage daughter to enter Beauty Pageants, rather than strapping on Roller Skates and throwing punches. There is also a romantic subplot, which captures the feeling of being in love for the first time with realism unusual for the genre.
Whip It combines teen flick with sports picture, including all the great elements of the typical tale of the underdog. It is fast paced, intelligent and realistic, balancing Bliss’ social problems as a misfit in a small town, with the speed and flash of the scantily clad, tattooed Roller Derby in the Big City. The whole film is infused with wit and energy.
Ellen Page’s performance is excellent; once again she plays the fast talking outcast with realism and emotion. She is likeable, loveable even, and relatable.
Often alarm bells start to ring when an actor decides to step behind the camera instead of remaining in front of it, but Barrymore has orchestrated a fantastic debut, full of humour, colour, and character. This movie will have you wanting to strap on your skates to experience this wild world for yourself.