Whip It is a teen coming of age/ comedy/ sports film that was released in April 2010 in the UK. It is based on a book by Shauna Cross (who also wrote the screenplay) called Derby Girl. The film is rated 12A due to crude and strong language, violence and minor scenes of a sexual nature and it has a run time of 111 minutes.
Bliss Cavendar is 17 and lives in Bodeen, Texas with not much of a life apart from beauty pageants she is forced to enter by her mother and working in a roadside BBQ diner with her best friend, Pash.
While on a shopping trip in Austen with her mother and sister, Bliss sees a flyer for the local roller derby and after seeing the girls involved, she immediately wants to be a part of it. Bliss talks Pash into going to one of the matches with her and along with meeting a cute boy, Maggie Mayhem (one of the players) tells her that she should come along to try outs for the Hurl Scouts.
Try outs are a lot harder than Bliss had expected, realising just how aggressive the sport can be but due to how quick she is on her skates, she manages to secure herself a place on the team by lying about her age. She has to lie to her parents, change her work schedule and get on the bingo bus every time there is a match. How long will she be able to keep it up without anyone finding out, especially as she is quickly becoming the star of the team.
What I thought
Ellen Page puts in a fabulous performance as Bliss and the transformation in her was great to watch. She goes from being quite shy and a loner to quietly confident and tough once she makes friends with the other women on her team. What I like about Page is that isn't afraid to take a chance on a role that she likes instead of going for the safe option. I'm sure we could have seen her in many teen comedies by now but I'm glad that she has only done a couple of films because they were great. As Bliss, Page manages to mix comedy with seriousness at times really well to make a very believable and likable character.
Whip It is Drew Barrymore's first attempt at directing but I was also glad to see her have a part in the film. Her character, Smashley Simpson, reminds me of the character she played in Charlie's Angels, slightly crazy and rebellious. Also on the Hurl Scouts is RnB singer, Eve, who I wasn't expecting to see in this at all. She didn't stand out as much as some of the other cast but she was still pretty good. On one of the opposing teams is Juliette Lewis as Iron Maven who was really the girl to beat. She's tough, scary and extremely mean and doesn't seem afraid of anyone or anything. I really liked that there were some quite big names in this film because I wasn't expecting it and they were all really good.
I thoroughly enjoyed the whole film for a few reasons. Watching Bliss change who she is for what she believes in was great but the actual scenes in the roller derby were the best. Although some of the shots are mainly of the girls whizzing past the camera, there are also some really good action shots of specific plays and the violence of the sport. Each match was exciting and I never really knew what was going to happen. I completely loved the looks of each team with their fish nets, over the top eyeliner and crazy outfits. I know I wouldn't want to be anywhere near any of them, they were pretty scary.
The only thing that I didn't really like about this film was the romance aspect between Bliss and Oliver. There was enough going on plot wise to keep me thoroughly entertained and I felt like the romance was thrown in just as something extra. It didn't really add much to the film apart from being a time filler. The time could have been put to a much better use instead of wasted on this.
Whip It is a great film that is full of action and comedy. One to watch!