Saturday, October 3, 2009

Reasons why 'Whip It' rocks

'Whip It' makes me proud to be a girl. Let's review why I loved this film:

1. It's made by women, for women. This isn't an automatic qualifier for a movie to rock, as we know (I'm looking at you, Katherine Heigl). But 'Whip It' is the kind of movie that makes me grin for my entire gender and know that we can rise above the pathetic rom-com. I love being able to support women like Shauna Cross who write about real life - the fun and the hurt of it - and who do so in a way that's inclusive about our experience as a gender, and how that does not have to involve compromising yourself in order to attract completely unworthy male eye candy. Equally as important, this is not a movie full of female eye candy made for boys to drool over. This movie doesn't care if guys go and see it. First-time director Drew Barrymore doesn't give a shit. Men are beside the point. And that's awesome.

2. There are no makeovers, weddings, or babies. There's just an awesome teenage Ellen Page figuring out who she is, coming into her own. There's no path defined by a boy, or a path leading toward a boy, but a path that a girl paves by herself, for herself alone. It's shocking how rarely we get to see that kind of journey in film. And sure, there's a boy plotline in this film, but it's secondary to who our hero is and the choices she makes. The boys are not the point. The girl figuring out her inner girl is the point, and the journey, and the victory, in and of itself.

3. All women are welcome. There's a myriad of women in this film: big girls, small girls, pretty girls, less-pretty girls, loud girls, quiet girls, mean girls, nice girls, girls who have kids, girls who don't want kids, girls who haven't thought about kids yet, girls who like boys, girls who like other girls. Given that this extraordinary body of women exists in the real world, why, then, are so few of these women ever on the big screen? In that regard, "Whip It" is a breath of fresh air. It's also commendable that roller derby can be celebrated here, because it deserves recognition for its culture of kick-ass inclusion. Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Alia Shawkat, Juliette Lewis, Eve, and more are all great fun to watch.

4. Female friendships are celebrated. I love the treatment of female friendships here, the closeness and also the pain of them. (PS: Arrested Development fans, this stars Maebe!) There are best friends who are growing together, childhood friends who now hate each other, new friends who connect in different ways, and bonds forged with family members that redefine existing patterns of connection. I love the very real treatment of relationships here that goes well beyond Boy + Girl = Kissing While Credits Roll. Life is bigger than that, as we all know.

5. It's a love letter to Austin, TX. And that's always a good thing.

6. It's damn fun. This is not a serious movie. It's a grin-on-your-face movie. I like those from time to time.


  1. Yay! Excited to see this, especially after an excellent review. Wonder if Hubs will be interested- maybe I will posit it as a sports movie.

  2. Cannot WAIT to see this! Drew and Ellen... two of my favs!

  3. The first thing D said to me when we walked out of the theater? "You would SOOOOO have been a roller derby girl when you were 17!"

    The second? "And Juliette Lewis still just batshit crazy."

    Both so true.

  4. I loved it soo much! Your points are dead on! The female friendships were so great in this movie! And Razor = dreamboat. He may just be added to fantasy island!


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