14 October 2009

Whip It

Director: Drew Barrymore
Starring: Ellen Page, Kristen Wiig
Personal Rating: B

I do not consider myself an expert on movies, but I do think I have good taste. I'm not picky (like some co-workers of mine), I don't set my sights too high, and I like to think that I'm a good judge on what appears to be something I'd like when I watch movie trailers.

I was excited to see this movie because I liked the look, I like Ellen Page, and the Badger Herald gave it a decent review. There is also full contact, all women roller derby involved. The cinematography was nothing special. I enjoyed the dealings with the mise-en-scene. Editing was also fairly decent. But what I really liked about this movie was the message behind it.

Here we have a teenager who dislikes the pageants her mother forces her to attend. Right off the bat, she bashes these pageants by announcing that she would like to have dinner with Amelia Earhart instead of someone lamely inspirational. She does this with blue hair. Then we track this same teenager (named Bliss) as she works her way to independence from under her mother's nose. She discovers a world of independence and strong female roll models (haha) who she strives to become. These are women who didn't attend a great college, but they still love life away from the mold of what's acceptable and what isn't.

It should also be noted that when things hinted at wavering, Bliss was the one who stepped up to reveal her lies. She was not called out on anything to her team, and I think that's saying something. Her parents did discover her lies, which made things that way worse, but it only made another message stronger. "Just because you found a new family doesn't mean you throw the old one away," so says Kristen Wiig's character Maggie Mayhem.

I also enjoyed how the romance didn't work out. Bliss was not going to be "that girl" and her choice was final. It just shows that a woman doesn't need a man in her life to be the best she can be. Another good message in the movie.

Although the motto for the movie seems like I've heard it in every other inspirational movie ("Be your own hero"), this movie does take it to another level. At least another placement on a shelving unit. Be your own hero, but don't do it because you have to save the world. Do it because you have to save you.

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