Whip It is the story of Bliss (Ellen Page from Juno) a high-school student from a small town in Texas who wants more to life than beauty pageants. She chances upon roller derby in Austin, which gives her the confidence to deal with other apsects of her life, including her mother’s (Marcia Gay Harden) desire for Bliss to be a beauty pageant queen, as well as her romance with musician Oliver.
The film was written by Shauna Cross who adapted the screenplay from her own young-adult novel Derby Girl. The novel is itself a fictionalised account of Cross’ experiences in roller derby in Texas. The film is also the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, who plays a small role as a roller derby girl.
Ellen Page as Bliss is perfect for the role and gives the movie its dramatic cred. The supporting cast support her ably, including a particularly hammy performance from Juliette Lewis, as a roller derby girl from an opposing team.
It has an indie-film feel, thanks largely in part by a cool soundtrack, lack of incidental music and the cinematography which has a grungy feel. The depiction of the roller derby scene feels authentic.
It is an enjoyable movie, a bit lightweight, but would definitely appeal to the same young adult demographic to which the book was targeted. It may even make you want to put on a pair of skates and fishnets…