I’m floating on a cloud at the time of writing this, and that is down to the directorial debut of Drew Barrymore, Whip It.
It’s so good. We went en masse, a gaggle(?) of feminists (what is the collective noun for feminists?), and I temporarily lost the ability to articulate my thoughts upon emerging from the screening at Leicester Square. I laughed, I cried, and crucially, I believed. If that sounds mildly evangelical, I’m not even sorry. Whip It is, without a doubt, going to be one of my Top 10 films of 2010.
From the friendship between the film’s protagonist Bliss and her bezzie Pash (Alia Shawkat – cousin and lust object Maeby from Arrested Development), to the camaraderie that exists between the Hurl Scouts roller derby team who take Bliss in, to the mother-daughter dynamic, it is pitched perfectly. The players probably won’t trouble the Academy, but for my money, Ellen Page should. Her pixie-ish face registers every emotion that the audience is feeling, and crucially, it doesn’t even feel like she’s acting. Juliette Lewis chews the scenery delightfully in a rare return to film (COME BACK, MALLORY!), and Kristen Wiig… Oh, Kristen Wiig. I wish they’d give her more to do in Hollywood, because she’s as good as fellow SNL-alumnus Tina Fey and they’re both a little bit awesome, y’know?
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much, but I am entirely convinced. More movies like this need to be made, and in order for that to happen, we all need to go out and see them. If there is one way for us to collectively change the way Hollywood thinks of women characters and audiences, it is with cold hard cash – support this awesome movie. I can’t think of any circumstance in which you won’t enjoy it. Unless there’s a nasty roller derby accident in your life story. Even then, just go. You won’t be disappointed.
In tribute to the gals in Hurl Scouts – Babe Ruthless, Rosa Sparks, Jabba The Slut, Smashley Simpson and Maggie Mayhem among them - and no doubt testament to our very full workdays, some of us came up with some alternative roller derby names on Twitter earlier today. Apologies for the awful punnery you’re about to witness…
- Sylvia Wrath
- Nigella Lawless
- Scary Wollstonecraft
- Pain Austen
- Killy Allen
- Rory Kill-More
- Victoria Deck’Em
- Louisa Slay Alcott
- Emmeline Pank-hurts
- Audrey Rugburn
- Veronica Scars
- Enid Blight-On
And my absolute favourite, Annihilate Nin.