Bliss falls in love with the idea of roller derby after grabbing a flyer for an upcoming exhibition when shopping with her mom. She's immediately interested, but has to sneak out with her friend Pash. Her mother would never approve of such an outing. She's knees-deep in the world of pageants, especially since the upcoming Miss Blue Bonnet crown is about to make all her dreams come true. She desperately wants Bliss to win, but Bliss has no interest in pageants outside of pleasing her mother. It's only when she decides to secretly try out for roller derby--and makes the team--that she truly comes alive. She falls for the sport, makes new friends, and even gets into her first serious relationship. But secrets can't be kept forever, and the one Bliss is harboring has the potential to rock her family's world.
Whip It has a nice indie movie feel to it. There are scenes that remind me of elements from some indie favorites in terms of the quirky ways people experience relationships, while still being unique and interesting. This was the second time I'd ever seen Ellen Page in a movie, the first being her performance as the much-lauded JUNO. She once again showed off her acting chops in Whip It proving that she would be a force to be reckoned with in years to come. Page has since gone on to act in highly-acclaimed movies such as INCEPTION, and will next suit up as Kitty Pryde for 2014's surefire summer hit X-MEN: Days of Future Past. Whip It also marked the directing debut of Drew Barrymore, who showed everyone that she wasn't just a pretty face. She knows how to bring heart to a story. I was also impressed by her decision to appear in the movie as a minor character. So many times, we hear about actors directing movies or creating their own production companies, and they're always the star of every title they produce. Barrymore isn't afraid to take the backseat and share the spotlight. The scenes she does appear in as Smashley Simpson still manage to shine, while never stealing thunder from the story. I was impressed by the way she handled her role in the film, and applaud her for her smart decisions.
If you're looking for a fun, thoughtful coming of age story with few annoyances, check out Whip It. It has a lot more depth than you might initially think, and the investment of time is worth the pay-off in the end.