Whip it (2009, USA)

I like off-beat culture, strong women characters in movies, and all three of these actresses Juliette Lewis, Ellen Page and Drew Barrymore, so I was predestined to like Whip it. My expectations were met.

It didn’t disturb me much that the story line was predictable, because the energy and the atmosphere carried the movie forward. Carried? No, pushed, shoved, chased, round and round just like on the course of the roller derby. I am inspired now to go to the real thing. There is a location nearby us where they held roller derby tournaments; hope to check it out soon.

Some reviewers of the movie complained that the characters are uninteresting and of the type we’ve seen in other movies, or that the script wasn’t innovative enough. Again, these didn’t disturb me as they were likable, the story had a moral lesson, the coming of age aspects were well presented and the contrast in the dynamics of the dull life in a dusty little town vs the excitement of the derby scene was enough to hold my attention and appreciate the movie.

I was reminded of the rule of online discussions that you should never question the experience of others. You may disagree with their interpretation or even with what happened, but you can never disagree what they believe they experienced. You may not like this movie, but it made me believe that it is a realistic experience of a life I have never known. That’s a main reason I like movies: show and me teach me the unknown. That this film Barrymore’s first direction did just fine with plenty of humor and great music. I don’t need more.

The DVD and the soundtrack @ Amazon.com.

IMDB’s summary: Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) has grown unhappy with the apparent small-town Texas life of Friday night football and beauty pageant competition, the football championed by her father Earl (Daniel Stern) and the pageants by her mother Brooke (Marcia Gay Harden). She commiserates with her best friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) at their waitressing jobs. Pash has a plan to get out: she is applying to Ivy League schools. Bliss just wants to get out and needs a plan and a calling. She finds it during a shopping trip to Austin, Texas where she picks up a flyer for a Roller Derby event, schemes to attend, gets invited to try out and becomes Babe Ruthless, her alter-ego roller derby character. She makes the team, lies about her age, works hard to succeed, experiences her first love with the young lead singer of an Indie rock band, gets disappointed in love, bonds with her new family of roller derby girls, fights with her mother to escape the beauty pageant and live her new dream as roller derby star. She manages to reconcile all of this, impress and win over her parents and friends, and charts an ambiguous goal to move to Austin, continue with Roller Derby, and live her new life.


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