Saturday, June 2, 2012
Welcome to our film club discussion for May's film, Whip It! I realllly enjoyed this one and I hope you did, too!
I've wanted to watch Whip It since the trailers first came out for it, but for some reason or another it never happened so I was super happy to have it recommended for film club. I like coming of age stories, I like stories about girls, and I also thought the whole roller derby thing was really different so I had hopes for this film and they paid off! I thought Whip It was really charming, funny, full of warmth and heart--everything a good coming of age story should be, to be honest!
I really liked that Bliss was introduced as a teen who was struggling to come into her own, but didn't know yet how to express that. So things happened like the blue hair at the pageant in the beginning. But when she discovered the roller derby, she really found something she loved, that was all her own. But that didn't mean it was an easy path or that she made the wisest of decisions. And the decisions she made--lying to everyone--had consequences. Her relationships were affected by the push and pull (though I thought her team forgave her really really easily!) of her attempts to have control over her life but also by the dishonest way she went about it. And in return, she was also on the receiving end of someone not treating her as well as she deserved in Oliver.
I liked all the positive female relationships so much! I loved Pash and Bliss's deep best friendship--they really loved each other, end of story. And I loved the relationship between the girls on the team and even the competitiveness between teams. I thought the stuff between Bliss and her mom felt very authentic...and I liked that the pageant stuff wasn't made to be too OTT ridiculous, it was more presented as a way of life that Bliss didn't want. I even thought the stuff with the other girl (I can't remember her name) that was presented as her rival felt very true and worked to serve the theme...they were once best friends, but Bliss didn't want that life anymore.
I enjoyed that Bliss's family was presented as very loving but not perfect. It's hard to find that kind of relationship, particularly in young adult stories. The parents often seem to controlling, or out of touch, or absentee. And while Bliss's mom was controlling, her love for her daughter was evident, she genuinely believed she was acting in her best interests.
Another nice touch on the spectrum of female relationships was Bliss's rivalry with Iron Maven. When the Iron Maven (who I just thought of as Juliette Lewis throughout the movie, oops) explained how Bliss's time would come, but it wasn't here yet, and how it had taken her until she was 31 to find the thing she loved....I don't I really liked that this was also presented, the potential feeling of displacement of older women by younger women. (not that 36 is all that old mind you!) And yet they were able to forge a sort of truce in time.
The sport of roller derby itself was very new to me and lots of fun! I don't think I could personally ever do it, but I loved the way it looked and it kind of made me want to go roller skating which I'm pretty sure I haven't done since I was 13. It seems really intense!
And this is kind of goofy, but I LOVED the Stryper t-shirt. My brother loved Stryper when I was a kid, so it brought back memories. :)
What did you guys think of Oliver? How old was he supposed to be? I thought their relationship was pretty cute, and it was totally believable to me that they would fall for each other, but I was disappointed that he turned out to be a flake.
I'm not saying the movie was perfect...there were a lot of stock character types and cliches, but even so, something about the energy of the film kept them from being boring or coming across as too trite.
Overall, I just thought this was really cute and I liked it a lot. And I want to know what everyone else thinks! Did you enjoy it? Were you surprised by any part of it? Do you think Bliss got off too easy for lying? (I kind of did to be honest!) Don't limit yourself to my questions, though, share your thoughts freely.
Film Club: Whip It Discussion