Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Whip It by Drew Barrymore

Ah Drew...
How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...

You made the child to adult actor transition after being written off by everyone as a messed up Hollywood wild child.

You used to turn up to premieres wearing not 'vintage' dresses, but charity shop finds with your grungy boyfriend in tow.

You used to talk about your best friends and how much you loved them in interviews.

You introduced me to glitter spray.

You have done lots of very rude photo shoots but you never looked like a potential rape victim/Barnardos child, you were having a laugh and didn't care what people thought.

Boys On The Side and Donnie Darko.

You have just directed a film which, had I seen it at age 14, would have a) blown my tiny little heart up and b) shunted Empire Records into a very distant second place.

Bliss (Ellen Page) is a 17 year old from a tiny town in Texas who is a reluctant beauty pageant contestant at the behest of her mother. While buying some second hand boots to complete her mid-nineties grunge look, she picks up a leaflet for a roller derby in Austin.

Bliss soon joins the Hurl Scouts, an unambitious roller derby team who, despite their inability to win, are the best of friends and filled with joie de vivre. There is a cute boy and there are great parties, a climatic sports event and tears between friends and family.

In some ways this film has the ingredients of every teen movie but it is so great because it is actually a girl's film. The main character does not have massive boobs and the person she cannot beat is not a nubile cheerleader but a hard as nails 36 year old played by Juliette Lewis. One element of the story is Bliss lying about her age so that she can hang out with these super-cool 30 somethings.

There is a relationship with a boy but the passion that Bliss (AKA Babe Ruthless) has for Roller Derby is the focus of this film.

At the end of this movie I wanted to buy all of the soundtrack on LP, dig out my old 90s Seattle clobber, strap on a pair of roller skates, make best friends with Bliss's best buddy Pash and watch the film all over again.

Like I say, if I had been 14, I would be typing this whilst already wearing roller skates, a Mother Love Bone t-shirt, listening to The Breeders and arranging a pre-order of the DVD.


  1. I loved this movie! It's based off a book, Derby Girl, which I haven't read.

  2. Hi Chelle,

    Yes, I heard about this. My local library doesn't have a copy so I may try and track it down on the net. If it's even remotely like the film then I am sure that I will love it.