Film #18: Whip It


Tonight I watched Whip It featuring Ellen Page, Drew Barrymore, and Kristin Wiig. I first watched this movie after it appeared in my sister’s collection of DVD’s a few years back. I have to admit that I really liked it. I’m not sure if it was the unveiling of a piece of American culture that I hadn’t known about, women in contact sports, or Ellen Page that I liked more. (Ellen Page is a boss).

Whip It follows the life of a girl in Bodeen, Texas, and her journey to find something in this world that she loves and is truly good at. We find her Mom living vicariously through her daughter in beauty pageants. You can tell that Ellen’s character is not 100% into it and is kind of going through the motions. She finds out about ‘Roller Derby’ and goes to a game with her friend in Austin, TX. She falls in love with it and tries out for the team. This time, no chaos ensues and there aren’t any explosions in this movie, ha. Still, I love it.

I found myself getting sucked into this sport that I knew next to nothing about, and I liked it. Essentially the idea is this: Roller derby is a contact sport played by two teams of five members roller skating in the same direction around a track. Game play consists of a series of short matchups (“jams”) in which both teams designate a scoring player (the “jammer”) who scores points by lapping members of the opposing team. The teams attempt to assist their own jammer while hindering the opposing jammer — in effect, playing both offense and defense simultaneously.

Ultimately, I found the movie making me feel excited and optimistic to try something new. There is a spontaneity about the film that just makes you want to jump in the car, strap on some skates and rough someone up on the rink. It also gives confidence to the skeptical and unadventurous. In the beginning of the movie, Ellen’s character is a scared little puppy  without her friend right there next to her. The movie brings you along on her journey to becoming a strong, confident, and sure women. Check it out. It’s a fun flick.

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