Whip It Review

Drew Barrymore gets behind, as well as in front of, the camera for this girly film starring Ellen Page (Juno, Inception). We have a 17 year old girl going through the coming of age motions who discovers a rather unusual outlet in life.

Her life, as we find it, has an over bearing mother (Marcia Gay Harden) wanting her to step into the “Beauty Pageant” arena, a lovely but stepped on father (a far too long absent Daniel Stern) and friends who are just as lost as she is in where they want to go in their lives. Working part time with said friends at the local Bodean’s two of them take off to watch the roller derby (think Rollerball: the girly version).

Taken in by the thrill of skating round a rink and dodging, slamming and over taking opponents to score points; she lies about her age and signs up. Life takes an upturn as she finds herself becoming quite the star, falls in love with a boy in a band and all the while makes enemies out of the older more experienced skaters (namely Juliette Lewis in scene stealing form).

Of course, all this won’t last forever as friendships are broken, love is betrayed and her family become wise to what she is up to. If you have watched enough of this teen type of stuff you won’t be surprised where it goes, but it is a credit to Barrymore and her writing team that it is always fun and enjoyable to follow.

I am no fan of Ellen Page as I find her acting style too unconvincing as she waves her arms around too much when trying to portray the sentiment of being upset and some of the supporting cast (like Barrymore’s team member) are little more than caricatures but the film isn’t aiming to provide high drama from every scene (most of the professional acting is left to Marcia Gay Harden). The film is here to charm and just be generally fun and there is enough mix of characters in the film to provide you with laughs as well as a deep sentiment.

Steven Hurst

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