Whip It is the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, and centres around Bliss Cavendar, played by Ellen Page (Inception, Juno, Hard Candy) who is a bright seventeen year old, who is being smothered by her overbearing, if well meaning mother (Marcia Gay Harden).
Her mother wants her to take part in beauty pageants and other such girly pursuits like her younger sister, but she's just not interested. Bliss and her friend Pash (Alia Shawkat) are determined to get away from the small town in which they live.
Bliss picks up a flyer for a roller derby (an all girl team sport with racy outfits and larger than life nicknames) in Austin, and the girls decide to attend, telling Bliss' parents that they're going to a football game as they're sure that her mum and dad won't approve. Bliss is entranced by the action and decides to try out for the Hurl Scouts team, who have never won a match in all the time they have been in the league.
Needles to say she keeps her skating activities a secret from her parents, which leads to some entertaining drama.
Drew Barrymore's directorial debut is written by Shauna Cross, based on her novel Derby Girl. The ensemble cast is great with Page, Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Alia Shawkat and Kristen Wiig particularly standing out.
Barrymore deftly manages to balance the dramatic and the comedic elements of the story, something she is she manages very easily in her acting too. The action sequences are shot in a very exciting and realistic way, and the women are portrayed as smart, tough and at times vulnerable, but never weak.
This had been sitting in our LOVEFiLM rental list for quite some time, and if this movie is anything to go by Drew Barrymore's next film will be going to the top of the list.