teeny movie review: whip it

Grade: B+whip-it-movie-1

What’s it about?
Small town girl Bliss (Ellen Page) stifles under her beauty pageant-obsessed mother’s stranglehold, until she discovers her true calling – roller derby.

What’s it’s Bechdel Test Score?
100%! The emotional arc is about a girl and her mother, framed really nicely by an underdog sports story. We’ve seen the reverse – underdog boy playing sports and having a rough relationship with his dad – about a million times, and it was really nice seeing the female take on it without it devolving into a story about a girl trying to get a boy.

What About Minorities?
Cute as a button Alia Shawkat was in it, but she was playing white (as she did in Arrested Development). Rapper Eve also featured as another roller derby player, but she was a token and didn’t get much time or much of a personality. Although most of the roller derby players were pretty downplayed; I’m sure their stories are fleshed out more in the book. There were also two deaf players that were almost completely ignored, and I wonder if they were made deaf just so it would be easier to ignore them since the team had too many people for the audience to invest in. I don’t really know how to feel about it if that’s the case. Anyways, there is a believability that most of the characters are white given that the story takes place in Texas, and I would buy it in the small town, but it was weird seeing no non-white people even in the background in Austin. I’m gonna give this one a B-.

So…

I don’t really have that much to say about this movie. It’s been a few days now since I’ve seen it and I find myself not being particularly excited by it. It was good, and I certainly enjoyed it, but it unfortunately didn’t live up to the hype I had heard before hand. It wasn’t as funny as I thought it was going to be, and the performances weren’t the best I’d seen from anybody, although I will say that Marcia Gay Harden did a terrific job.

Perhaps if I had seen it how I usually see movies – in the evening with at least one drink in me – I’d have enjoyed it more. But it did strike a chord with me – I cried at the big emotional climax, and I was really rooting for Bliss (Ellen Page) the whole time. I was very glad the love story turned out the way it did, and the focus was solely on the roller derby and what it meant to Bliss. It also had a really good structure?

Maybe I shouldn’t wait so long between seeing a movie and writing the review anymore, I’ve forgotten anything I had to say about this movie! Except that: it’s pretty good, go see it. And I guess I’m mostly posting this teeny review because I was really proud of the logline I wrote for the movie. :-)

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