(Published on Rushes Online Film Magazine)
Whip It is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, based on Sue Cross’s novel, Derby Girl. The story follows Bliss Cavendar, played by Ellen Page (Juno), an unpopular teen from a boring town who doesn’t know where her life is going.
The film opens by introducing Bliss as an out-of-place character straight away. She walks onto the stage of a beauty pageant with dyed, bright blue hair as her mother stares in disappointment from the crowd. Her mother, Brooke (Marcia Gay Harden), is one of those American Mom’s who forces her “psychotic idea of 50’s womanhood” down her children’s throats. When she takes Bliss shopping, she refuses to buy her a pair of boots when she realises that the pretty vases she has been admiring around the shop are actually bongs. This is when a group of tattooed women with brightly coloured hair and ‘alternative’ clothing skate into the shop. Bliss’ mind fills with excitement as she discovers the roller derby team.