The directorial debut from Hollywood mainstay Drew Barrymoore, Whip It is a coming-of-age film centred around an indie-girl misfit who has always failed to find her place at school, while at home her mother pushes her into beauty pageants.
One evening though, Bliss (Page) and her friend Pash (Shawkat) escape their small town to go to a roller derby in nearby Austin. Seeing it as a chance to really be herself, and excited by the opportunity of finding a new group of friends who understand who she really is, Bliss tries out for the team.
Soon enough giving Bliss the chance to prove to her family and old friends that she can really be someone, even if just for now it’s as part of a roller derby team, when the Hurl Scouts make the regional final, Bliss has the chance to really make the difference.
For her first film taking charge behind the camera, Whip It is a very accomplished film from Drew Barrymoore. As you’d expect from free spirit Barrymoore, her debut has indie sensibilities coursing right through it, and with a thoroughly honest and charming script from ex-roller derby star Shauna Cross, Whip It is a better film than many of Barrymoore’s recent outings solely as an actor.
Ellen Page is great as you’d expect, giving a gritty performances, but one of grace and heartfelt meaning, though Kristen Wiig comes close to stealing the show and is brilliant as the team captain.
Whip It follows the classic follows the classic tropes of any indie coming-of-age film, big game showdown et al, but does it all so well you’ll be instantly wrapped up, possessing a real sense of warmth, and charming and genuinely funny throughout.