Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Whip It!

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Whip It!

Article excerpt


Directed by Drew Barrymore (Fox Searchlight, 2009)


In Drew Barrymore's new film about tattooed Texas lasses on skates, Ellen Page, who played a glib pregnant teen in Juno (Fox Searchlight), takes a turn around the track as a spunky, frightened, and impulsive roller derby princess.

At first glance Barrymore's film is an old-fashioned coming-of-age tale in which our young heroine finds salvation and liberation by going after her dream, rebelling against loving but repressive parents. In the unlikely arena of women's roller derby (a "sport" treating women with only slightly more dignity than mud wrestling), 17-year-old Burger Barn waitress and reluctant beauty contestant Bliss Cavendar (Page) finds her true calling.

Racing and slamming around the track with her band of misfit sister skaters gives Bliss--now known as "Babe Ruthless"--a sense of purpose, status, and belonging that had always eluded her.

But Barrymore's film is ultimately about what it takes and costs to be a parent, and this teenage drama suggests the adolescent challenges facing Bliss are nothing compared to the labors of the women who carry her through this journey. …

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