Whip It is long-time actress and former child-star Drew Barrymore's directorial debut. It stars Canadian actress Ellen Page as Bliss Cavendar, a high school girl whose mother lives vicariously through her by forcing her to attend beauty pageant upon beauty pageant. Outside of the pageants, Bliss is a reserved, slightly nerdy young girl who is teased by more popular kids. She is sometimes tormented by another girl at school. She also works as a waitress at a small town diner, but she is unhappy with her boring, pageant-filled life and longs for an escape.
She finds that escape in Austin, when she joins a roller derby team called The Hurl Scouts. There, she can let out her pent up frustration by skating and engaging in rough, sometimes violent behavior on the track. While some of Bliss's teammates oppose her at first, her talent as a skater earns her the respect of her team - and a fan base. She becomes known as "Babe Ruthless."
Her participation in the team also leads to her meeting a boy, Oliver, who she falls in love with. He is the member of a semi-famous band, and he and Bliss have a short fling. It doesn't last long.
While on tour with his band, he begins a relationship with another girl. When Bliss comes across pictures of Oliver with the other girl wearing her shirt, she is shattered. Yet the incident leads her to turn to her mother and helps her repair the relationship with her family that has been damaged by her mother's beauty-pageant pushing and Bliss's own resentment.
Bliss's parents eventually approve of her skating and even come to watch her participate in her last roller derby match. Yet Bliss's team still ends up losing the match. Nevertheless, the teammates learn to put aside their differences, and even those who previously did not get along are now working as a team.
Drew Barrymore, Juliette Lewis, Kristen Wiig and Zoë Bell star as Page's Hurl Scout teammates.
Drew Barrymore, like The Terminator, refuses to be stopped. She beat the child actor stigma, navigating a very successful career throughout her teens and twenties, and now in her thirties is continuing her run as a producer and, least expectedly of all, a surprisingly remarkable director.
Her first feature, 2009's "Whip It," was the rare film about girls that didn't talk down to them, but also didn't make its characters into ridiculously confident stereotypes of female empowerment.