Whip It

I went to see the new movie, Whip It yesterday, though I wasn’t sure I was going to like it. I knew going in that Drew Barrymore directed it, and that Ellen Page was the star, but other than that, I didn’t know much. The movie was actually  filmed in a city near my hometown, and my brother had the opportunity to be an extra in a few scenes. I was hoping to be able to see him in a few shots (if you know what he was wearing, you’d catch his shoulder a few times), but I didn’t really know if the movie would be any good.

I was definitely pleasantly surprised. Jos at Feministing reviewed it on Friday (an excellent review), and this is how they described the movie:

Bliss (Ellen Page) lives in Bodeen, Texas, a very small town where not much happens. Bliss’ mother (Marcia Gay Harden) wants her competing in beauty pageants, but when Bliss meets a roller derby team from Austin she finds a new passion.

Jos goes on to discuss the fact that the entire film has such strong female characters. To me, it was super impressive that the characters themselves were so vivid. Add in the fact that the women were such strong role models, and I fell in love with all of them. The male characters, as well, seemed to be respectful and supportive of the women characters. It was a very balanced dynamic.

I also really enjoyed the mother-daughter theme, and the empowerment that came with that relationship. The film really spins the classic mother-wants-girly-girl-daughter-while-daughter-rebels plot into something new and empowering. Even the seemingly least empowered woman in the film (Mom) turns out to be not as bad as we think.

I agree with Feminsting that the film lacks queer representation and people of color. But overall, I think it’s a step towards the type of films we need in our society.

In the end, I loved this film because it was a feel-good, wonderfully made, and overall delightful story that had feminist themes. It really did ask you to “Be Your Own Hero.” I commend Drew for making her directorial debut in this brilliant film.

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2 thoughts on “Whip It

  1. I loved this movie too–I agree with you that all the female characters were strong, each in their own way, which was impressive. I loved Kristen Wiig’s character. Anyway, the movie could very well have been poorly edited and trite, but it was great. Well done Drew!

  2. I wasnt sure whether to watch this movie. I have a friend in roller derby so it did attract my interest. I will be sure to rent it now for me AND my daughter. Thanks for the post!

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