Fighting with the Sky

Whip It [Movie Monday]

Posted on: October 5, 2009

whip-it-ellen-page-drew-barrymoreI’m not even going to try to pretend I didn’t love this movie, because I did.  Whip It is about a 17-year-old girl, Bliss, who falls in love with roller derby and finds herself in the process.  (Warning: there are some spoilers throughout the analysis)

I haven’t been to the theater to see a movie in a while, but I couldn’t resist going to see Whip It this weekend because it looked like something I couldn’t miss, and I was right.  The line that pretty much summed up the themes of the movie (that was also in the trailer): “Put some skates on and be your own hero.”

Whip It is all about finding yourself and what you love, as well as friendship and family.  Bliss finds herself in roller derby.  She gains confidence and becomes more outspoken.  She makes new friends.  She gets a boyfriend.  When she finds out her boyfriend cheated on her (not that he admits it), she stands up to him.  She doesn’t want to be “that girl” who follows the guy around even though he doesn’t feel the same way.  She eventually calls her mom out on her “50s view of womanhood” because she makes Bliss participate in beauty pageants and doesn’t understand Bliss’ need to find herself and participate in roller derby.  Of course, they make up by the end of the movie and Bliss praises her mom’s ability to stick to her values and always stand up for her daughter.  And while Bliss’ father initially opposes her participation in roller derby, he’s the first one to come around and realize that he didn’t want to lose his daughter because he wouldn’t let her do what she loved.

This is where one of the main spoilers comes in…  I was really glad that the Hurl Scouts (the roller derby team that Bliss was a part of) didn’t win the championships.  Throughout the movie, the Hurl Scouts went from last place to second, with the help of Bliss, but also because they started to believe in themselves and wanted to beat this one other team.  But it would have been just too predictable and too feel-good if they won the championships.  The Holy Rollers were their main rivals throughout the movie and that’s who they were up against in the championship.  While the message of the movie is to do what you love and feel empowered by that (as well as setting your mind to do something), I don’t think the movie would have had the same feeling about it if they had won the championship.  Don’t worry, it was still a happy ending though.  The Hurl Scouts believe in themselves even more because they can hold their own against the Holy Rollers now and the crowd loves them.  Bliss’ parents now accept her life in the roller derby.

I’m trying to think of some bad things about the movie, but I’m having a hard time thinking of anything that really stuck out to me.  As a point of personal interest, I was excited that this was filmed here in the lovely state of Michigan and some of my local roller derby girls were in the movie as well.  I also really enjoy that Maeby from Arrested Development was in it as Pash, Bliss’ best friend (I know, great names, right), who also starts to find herself and what she enjoys through Bliss’s roller derby involvement.

Overall, I think you should all go out and see this movie.  If not only because it is great, but also to help support movies made by women — Drew Barrymore directed and starred, Ellen Page was the star, and written by Sauna Cross.

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3 Responses to "Whip It [Movie Monday]"

I loved, loved, LOVED this movie! My review is here. I erred on the side of less spoilers so it’s kind of cryptic but oh well.

I went with my mom and she didn’t want to leave the theater, she loved it so much. I agree with you, I think it was better they didn’t win the championship.

Long live the Hurl Scouts!

[…] review: Whip It by Laura at Adventures of a Young […]

this was filmed here in the lovely state of Michigan and some of my local roller derby girls were in the movie as well.

Aha! A bunch of my derby sisters and I were wondering where all of the extras were from– there was some great skating in some scenes. Also, agreed– if you think derby (or sports, or life) is about winning, you might be missing the point. Hooray for number 2!

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