Ato review “Whip It”

We all know the actress Drew Barrymore.  Remember her?  She was in the movie E.T. (1982) and a bunch of others since then.  But now she’s all grown up and finally taking a seat behind the cameras and into the directing chair.  Yes, that’s right I said the directing chair.  And today’s review is about her first feature film entitled “Whip It.”

“Whip It” takes place in Texas and is about a lost teenager named Bliss Cavendar played by Ellen Page.  Her mother, Brooke played by Marcia Gay Harden, is all about having her little girl participate and win beauty pageants, which Bliss doesn’t care for in the slightest bit.  But, one day while at the mall, Bliss gets a glimpse of a few roller derby girls being happy and enjoying themselves and gets an interest for the sport.  She uses her new love of roller derby to help her forget small town life, which she dislikes and finally gives her more of the courage to be herself.

As the character of Bliss, going from hating her life to full spirits was a lot of fun to watch.  However, having her already stand out in the beginning of the story before she joins the roller derby I personally wish they could have done better.  The way she dressed, the way she thought was already different compared to the rest of her small town, even the way she talked was different, the only thing that changed was that now roller derby gave her the confidence to fully be herself, instead of the low self esteamed person she was at the beginning.

Also, while watching the movie I couldn’t help but think that Ellen Page is replaying her character of Juno which she was nominated for an academy award for in 2008.  She is a great actress to watch and does play the offset characters really well, but I would have been happier if either she wasn’t in the movie or she played a different character, at least so my brain wouldn’t constantly be making that connection.  Again it’s not against her acting ability; I think it’s a casting decision.

Something that personally bothered me the whole time was what decade was it?  Everyone dressed like it was the 80’s; along with the musical feel and the cars everyone drove.  However at the beginning of the movie her mom and only her mom used a cell phone, which gave me the impression that it did take place now.

Now if you think I hated this movie, you are completely wrong.  I actually did like it a lot.  A lot of what made me like it was the acting and the material of the story.  First, let’s talk about the story.  The base for the story is not by any stretch new.  Depressed girl knows she wants more, eventually finds a way to be happy and be thy self and in the end has a challenge that brings her to decide between new life and older life.  And I did find myself predicting things, which usually drive me nuts, but I didn’t fully mind it this time.  I did find myself rooting for Bliss in the end and hoping she continues down her new path.

The main reason the predicting of the story was due to its acting and supporting characters.  The array of characters and individuality of each character really got me excited while watching it.  And the relationships Bliss has with each one felt real.  Whether it’s with her dad played by Daniel Stern, her best friend played by Alia Shawkat, her fellow team mates or her competitor Iron Maven played by Juliette Lewis the characters were all fun to watch.  It seemed that Drew Berrymore really spent time with the actors developing the characters and everyone’s relationship for or against each other.  It really shows.  So, I would go see another movie Drew directs.  The movie also stars Kristen Wiig, Jimmy Fallon, Zoe Bell, Landon Pigg and the director herself Drew Berrymore.

Again, I don’t believe this is the best movie in the world, but it is a good story that will really get you cheering for Bliss.  And, if you don’t know anything about roller derby before watching this movie, don’t worry, you will by the end.  If you need a good pick me up movie watch “Whip It”. Be Your Own Hero.

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