By Anna Ornelas (Staff Writer)

Anna Ornelas, Media Arts student

Anna Ornelas, Media Arts student

Whip It!, Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut, is the story about Bliss Cavendar (played by Juno’s Ellen Page), who is growing up in a small town located in Texas.

The film is based on the book of the same name by professional derby player Shauna Cross. Each character brings life to the little-known sport.

Although this is Barrymore’s first film as a director, she manages to leave the audience asking for more. Barrymore shows a talent for breathing life into a popular book, which is something that many directors have failed to do before.

Bliss is stuck in a life of beauty pageants that are coached by her mother, Brooke (played by Marcia Gay Harden) and is supported by her father, Earl (played by Home Alone’s Daniel Stern). Her best friend, Pash (Arrested Development’s Alia Shawkat) is her only confidant. Both Bliss and Pash work as waitresses at a grimy diner on the outskirts of town. Both girls desperately seek a way out.

During a shopping trip to Austin, Bliss finds her way out in the form of a flier for a Roller Derby event. Her and Pash attend the event, and Bliss gets invited to try out for a team, and becomes known under the moniker of Babe Ruthless.

Bliss starts to find comfort with the members of her Derby team. At a Derby party, Bliss falls in love with the lead singer of the band performing – only to find disappointment. Her Derby rebellion causes hardships with her mother, which breaks her spirit.

Fortunately, she finds a balance and continues to do what she loves with the ones she loves.

The film hits on some of the important points we all face while growing up. Bliss, like many of us, feels stuck in a town where she has nothing going for her. She fails as a beauty pageant contestant and is an awkward and shy person with only one friend.

She is almost reborn when she finds one thing that she is passionate toward.

Many of us do the same. We find ways to leave the place we feel stuck in by going away to college and trying to find meaning in our lives. Although we may not all play Roller Derby to find such meaning, we do “whip it” and become our own heroes.

The unique blend of Rock music throughout the film add to the film a color that livens the story. The cast is full of actors who play their roles admirably, bringing the characters of the book to life.

The cast is filled with many familiar faces: rapper Eve, SNL’s Kristen Wig and Drew Barrymore herself make up a part of the crazy Derby team that helps shape the film.

With an excellent cast, good directing, a family-friendly feel and great music, Whip It! is well worth the price of admission.