Starring: Ellen Page, Marcia Gay Harden, Kristen Wiig, Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Alia Shawkat, Daniel Stern, Andrew Wilson
Directed by: Drew Barrymore
Synopsis: In Bodeen, Texas, an indie-rock loving misfit finds a way of dealing with her small-town misery after she discovers a roller derby league in nearby Austin.
I vaguely remember hearing about this movie when it came out, largely because I was surprised to see Drew Barrymore directing a film about roller skating. I forgot all about it until fellow blogger Sarah Myles reviewed it recently here. She painted a pretty decent picture of the movie, so I thought I would give it a go. It falls into my undiscovered gems category, purely for the fact that I knew nothing about it.
The movie centres around Bliss Cavendar, played by Ellen Page. She is a fairly typical teenager, in that she listens to rock music, dyes her hair different colours and dresses like the fourth member of Nirvana. The trouble is, her Mum (Marcia Gay Harden) likes entering her into beauty pageants, something Bliss can’t abide. One day she sees a flyer for a roller derby over in Austin and decides to go along with her pal Pash (Alia Shawkat). It’s love at first sight and she signs up to skate for Razor’s (Andrew Wilson) team of rag tag losers, including Drew Barrymore, Kristen Wiig, Eve and Zoe Bell. They are up against the usual winners, the Holy Rollers led by Juliette Lewis.
The movie is nothing new, in that it follows the whole sports movie underdog story to a tee. What makes it different is that it is a movie directed by a woman, featuring a whole host of women and barely a guy in there to ‘help’ them achieve goals they could never do on their own. Which is obviously great, and something we don’t see too often in movies. All of the women are strong willed and not afraid to hit the opposition where it hurts. Having said that, it was also nice to see the bond they had with their coach Razor.
Ellen Page played the role really well, as did her parents, Harden and Daniel Stern. In fact, everyone was on top form here and they made the film a really fun experience. I’ll be interested to see if Drew Barrymore comes out with anything else because she certainly has the talent.
Overall I think this is a film that girls will dig because of the strong female characters (even the love interest doesn’t go to plan) and the guys will like it because it’s an often brutal sports movie! Oh, and it’s also pretty funny in places and has a cool indie rock soundtrack. So, something for everyone!