I know this isn't necessarily a 'recent' film - or one currently out at the cinema that you might genuinely want a review on before you waste your money - but I couldn't help but do a review on this film anyway. Ever since I first saw it, it has been a personal favourite of mine and because it's quite different - even indie perhaps - there's every chance that some of you might not have seen it or even heard of it which is a huge shame because it's a great movie.
Whip It is based on the novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross and tells the story of small town girl Bliss Cavendar who finds her escape in the form of the bad-ass sport doller derby. Played by Ellen Page in the film, misfit Bliss feels completely out of place among her family and in her town - her mother is pushing her to enter beauty pageants and all she wants to do is leave and find something more. However, when she discovers and tries out for the local roller derby team, Bliss immediately finds a different side to herself as well as discovering this new found passion. Along the way she makes new friends, dates a boy in a band (it's not even cliche!) and discovers what it's like to be torn between two worlds that seem to constantly collide.
I absolutely love this film - it's so different and inspiring. With an all star cast and the fact that roller derby is practically one of the most bad ass women's only sport to exist, the film definitely screams girl power. It's directed and co-produced by Drew Barrymore (in her directional debut) who also stars in the film alongside Kristen Wiig, Zoë Bell, Eve, Ari Graynor, Andrew Wilson and Juliette Lewis.
I think what I love most about the film is how much I can sympathise with the character of Bliss though - I definitely know what it feels like to wonder if there's anything more than just your small little town and feeling like you don't belong. It's even inspired me to finally give roller derby a go myself!
The film has the ultimate perfect mix as well with there being humour, drama, romance and the film offering it's fair share of inspiring moments. American actor and singer/songwriter Landon Pigg plays the role of Oliver, Bliss's love interest, and I have to admit that naturally I love their relationship. The fact that he's in a band who ends up dating a roller derby girl - it's far too cool. However it isn't at all cliche like I thought it would be and is the cause of one of the most beautiful swimming pool scenes I've ever seen.
Whip It also has the most awesome soundtrack ever with music from Ramones, Kings of Leon, Dolly Parton, Jens Lekman, Young MC, The Raveonettes and more. There's a real mix of classic punk rock music as well as more recent and modern indie tunes, and it spurred me to go ahead and download the official soundtrack to the film.
I've got to admit, I was never a fan of Ellen Page as I used to think she was very typecast, always playing the 'quirky' role. But even though this role is no different, I actually really liked her in this film and found her character really likable. I felt the misfit side of her character was very genuine rather than put on or forced (I thought the typecast of her character in Juno was just trying that little bit too hard to be different for example).
I loved the relationship between Bliss and her mother too. Without wanting to reveal too much away, they really don't see eye to eye, but I certainly teared up a bit when they finally had a heart to heart. Over all it made me really appreciate the fact that my parents are proud and supportive of whatever I do - I don't know how I'd cope if I felt forced into an interest or a career choice by them like Bliss was in the film.
I also really liked all the ladies that made up the Hurl Scouts team - they were so funny and bad-ass punk rock in their own way - I'd love to be friends with them!
Even if you aren't into indie films about misfit girls finding their way, this film would satisfy anyone who just fancies a feel good film which offers something a bit different than most films at the moment. You can watch it for what it is or really indulge yourself in the inspiring undertones of the film. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone - I think even men would like this film because it's definitely not a typical girly film. Andrew Wilson's character - the teams coach - and Jimmy Fallon as 'Hot Tun' Johnny Rocket are particularly funny for example. The actual roller derby scenes are really awesome and you'll be surprised to see just how violent the sport can be (is it wrong that I actually can't wait to try it myself despite how violent it is?!). Plus, the team's outfits are so cool...
I'll also be reviewing the book sometime soon and talking about my own experience at a roller derby try out, so keep your eyes peeled!