Whip It

Whip It

Directed By: Drew Barrymore


A film of infectious charm and unabashed fun, Barrymore’s Directorial debut is a supremely entertaining film.The film is pitch perfect, eschewing the Will Ferrel-style sport film to allow the inherent ridiculous of the sport of Rollerderby to shine through. But it is in the characters, completely real without the heightened “teen” dialogue that has proliferated for the last several years. Even the parent characters are drawn richly, and a scene-stealing performance from Kristin Wiig, explaining from her perspective as both Rollergirl and mom, is a delightful surprise.

Barrymore herself plays a minor character, a tough-as-nails checkout girl from Whole Foods, with the same passion and intensity that she brought to this project. It’s so entirely clear that this was a work of love, a group of individuals that banded together to help this little film find its feet. From a directorial point of view, there’s not a missed beat, no point that drags, and the action sequences are superbly staged.

Certainly one of the breakout films from this festival, it would be easy to dismiss this as some vanity project by an overly earnest star – instead, this is nothing less than the best teen film since Juno. The coincidence of Ellen Page’s involvement in both films shouldn’t be exaggerated (she’s excellent in this flick as well), it’s simply that this is such a clear eyed, wonderfully “real” film, one that’s quirky, intelligent, silly and engaging.

This is Drew’s breakout film as a director to watch, and this film (one that languished for literally years) is deserving of all the success it will, with any justice, reap.

Grade: A+


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