Tag Archives: Ellen Page

Whip It

Both Jill and I have been surprised by how lack-luster our choices have been so far this Feminist February, so I wanted to go for something I knew would be guaranteed fun. How can it not be with this cast? Plus, although I don’t always appreciate Ellen Page in her movies, I like her politics in the real world – so I chose this also because of that. Plus DREW BARRYMORE.

*Minor spoilers*

Whip It (2009)

Bliss Cavendar (Ellen Page) is a teenage misfit in the small town of Bodeen, Texas. Pushed into local pageant life by her former-beauty queen mother Brooke (Marcia Gay Harden), she is expected to conform to certain ladylike ideals. When she rocks up to one of the competitions with blue hair, Brooke is suitably disappointed.

Bliss’ heart just isn’t really in it, you know? She feels stifled by small town life. Luckily she has a cool best friend in the shape of Pash (Alia Shawkat), who is all too willing to be roped into side adventures. The pair also work together at The Oink Joint where the specialty is something called “the Squealer”.

“This little piggy went to Austin, this little piggy stayed home, this little piggy joined the derby…”

During a shopping trip with Brooke to Austin, Bliss sees a couple of derby girls handing out flyers. Under the guise of going to see a football game, she and Pash go back to Austin on their own to witness the derby for themselves. During the show the Holy Rollers defeat the Hurl Scouts and Bliss falls in love with the sport.

After the show she meets Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig) who persuades her to come to the next team try out. Lying about her age, she does and – lo! – discovers she has natural agility on the rink. Unfortunately her skill also catches the attention of mean girl Iron Maven (Juliette Lewis) who’s naturally threatened by this new kid on the block (I feel you girl). She also meets wannabe rock star Oliver (Landon Pigg) who quickly, and predictably becomes her love interest.

“What do you think of my big helmet?”

Bliss is forced to lie again when she tells Oliver she lives with roommates in Bodeen. The two quickly become an adorable couple but Bliss, now with the stage name Babe Ruthless, is heading for a fall. And exactly how long can she keep up this double life anyway?

Her parents think she’s signed up for extra SAT classes while Oliver thinks she’s an upwardly mobile badass of the world, something’s got to give, right? Well, when Maven gets her mitts on the truth, she has just the leverage to get Ruthless out of her life and off the team for good.

This is a lovely coming of age movie with a dream cast. Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut is based on the novel Derby Girl by Shauna Cross. She also plays Smashley Simpson and is the most accident prone of the group. Support includes Eve as Rosa Sparks, Ari Graynor as Eva Destruction and Zoë Bell as Bloody Holly.

I’m supposed to buy you shoes from a… a head shop? Does that really strike you as responsible parenting? ~ Brooke Cavendar

My face every time I remember Juliette Lewis is a Scientologist

I really like this movie, which I have seen before. I was really happy to revisit it and I think what I enjoy most about it is the mother/daughter element. While Brooke projects her own issues onto her daughter, despite her obvious reluctance to be part of the pageant scene, it’s hard to watch. And when Brooke lashes out and disses the derby girls, despite their kindness towards Bliss, she’s lashing out at a different way to be a woman, one she just doesn’t understand.

This film does not rely on men, all the men are secondary, even Oliver who fucks up as soon as he goes on tour. He doesn’t break Bliss nor does he feature again once she’s burnt his jacket and told him she’s not going to be the girl hanging about waiting for him at home.

Scream if you love Drew Barrymore

The derby girls are fucking great. While Maven is outwardly hostile she eventually gets over herself enough to admit why Babe sticks in her craw so much. But everybody else is welcoming and supportive, sticking two fingers up at the notion that women should always be competing. Sure, they are on the rink but beyond that, it’s a different take on a real and loving family.

This is wonderful sisters doing it for themselves stuff, it’s about following a dream, even if it’s just a dream for now. It’s about getting smashed in the face multiple times and getting back up. It’s about understanding your own needs and going out there and nourishing them. And it’s about looking fucking cool in knee pads.

I’m inspired to be more me when I think about it, even at this ripe age and although my answers probably won’t be found on the end of a pair of skates, it’s nice to know there might be something out there for me too.

⭐⭐⭐⭐ out of ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

What does my derby girl think of this one? Would she trip it violently or be on hand to patch it up, no questions asked? Find out here.

“I really liked you in Too Young To Die…”

Tallulah (Film) Review

tallulah-movie-posterMovie three in our Films about Fuck Ups series (although we’ve talked about how that might be problematic, see previous disclaimer), and I’m going straight in this week with little introduction.

Mainly because I’m PMSing and Jess just left Rory in Gilmore Girls and I have half an eye on that as I type this. Sue me.

*Spoilers ahead*

Tallulah (2016)

Director: Sian Heder
Stars: Ellen Page, Allison Janney, Tammy Blanchard

IMDB Synopsis: Desperate to be rid of her toddler, a dissatisfied Beverly Hills housewife hires a stranger to babysit and ends up getting much more than she bargained for.

My Review:

Lu (Page) lives in the back of her van, forages for food to survive and has an obsession with gravity. She also has a boyfriend, Nico (Evan Jonigkeit) who one day, after two years on the road (and since he saw his parents), suggests that they head ‘home’.

Lu doesn’t take kindly to this idea, considering her way of life and her immediate environment her home. The next morning Nico is gone. Desperate to find him, Lu (full name Tallulah), heads back to NYC where she knocks on Margo’s door (Janney). Margo is Nico’s mum and she has no problem turning Lu away from her plush apartment, disturbed by her appearance and request for money.

During a stint pinching leftover room service from a nearby hotel, Lu is accidentally mistaken for a staff member by a guest. That guest is frazzled Carolyn (Blanchard) who seems to be in the midst of a breakdown. She’s also the mother of a one year old, Maddison, and she’s drunk in charge of the kid. Trusting Lu’s face, she persuades her to babysit Madison while she goes out to bang a man who definitely isn’t her husband.

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Boiler Suits and Baby Gros are totally in this Season

This decision proves to be the biggest mistake of Carolyn’s life when Lu takes the baby and rocks back up at Margo’s, claiming the baby is Nico’s. Thus making Margo reluctant grandma. The story won’t take you any place you’re not expecting, I’ll say so here.

Margo is skeptical of Lu but slowly the two of them bond, with Lu opening up about her own sorry life. Margo herself is going through a divorce from her husband Stephen (John Benjamin Hickey), who has left her for another man (Zachary Quinto) and feels she has no control over her own life. Lu, too is obviously damaged and struggling with ‘motherhood’.

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“I loved you in Dexter, Detective”

Meanwhile, Carolyn is forced to reevaluate her life choices, whilst handling the judgement of Child Protective Services, the police and her husband.

An awkward dinner party at Stephen’s and a chance sighting by a frantic Carolyn brings the entire farce tumbling down but how can this possibly turn out well, for any of our characters?

Questions:

Will Carolyn get her baby back and become the mother she needs to be? What about Lu? Will Margo get her son back? Can or will she ever forgive Lu for what she’s done?

And, importantly, will you care about any of these super damaged characters?

(My money’s on perhaps).

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When life gives you lemons, blend the shit out of them

My Thoughts:

I don’t feel much sympathy for Lu but I think that’s down to my own prejudice against Ellen Page. I don’t like her and find her a little precocious (hangover from Juno?). Lu is a selfish woman for her own understandable reasons. Her lack of polish I suppose is quite satisfying to witness, however I don’t like her character either. Lu’s justification for taking the child is weak too, though I understand it’s supposed to be a split second decision that changes all their lives forever, and maybe when all is said and done, for the better.

Alison Janney is wonderful (well duh), portraying Margo as a deeply sad individual. When her turtle dies and she sobs openly about her loss, I really felt for her as she knows only too well that she’s let herself slip into her current position and is struggling to move on.

The arrival of Lu ignites something in her, even if it is only the fact that something different is happening finally. That it could lead her back to her son is a bonus.

If I’m honest, the only character who really made me feel anything real, besides Margo, was Carolyn. Sure, she’s does lots wrong and doesn’t she know it? I really appreciated that this film is about making mistakes and then owning them, and desperately fighting for an opportunity to rectify them.

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Sock puppets are always a hit with the under two set

She’s so sad, and she loves her daughter despite wishing for her to go away. Motherhood looks fucking hard and is fucking hard and what mother hasn’t thought the same once or twice, perhaps more frequently?

I think this film is about forgiveness and understanding, and in the end demonstrates that sometimes a really bad act, perpetrated for a well-meaning reason, shouldn’t be punishable forever.

Although I’m not wild about Page, this is a femalecentric movie making interesting points about what it means to be a mother, and a child . The men in this couldn’t be more secondary, from Nico and his father, to Carolyn’s cruel husband, to the concierge in Margo’s building. And I liked that. I liked that a lot. (Tallulah scored big on the Bechdel Test, naturally).

It was quite slow in places, though the scenes with Carolyn were electric, she was really great to watch. The use of flashback was quite effective, though it didn’t give me back story on anything that made me empathise more with Tallulah, sadly. I want to come out of this thinking, Page is good and you know something, she’s fine really, just empty to me.

My Rating: 3.5/5. Some great points and performances, but overall dragged down by the slower moments.

Did my beautiful wife love Tallulah like Ellen Page loves annoying me? Or was she more inclined to go on the road for two years just to get away from it? Find out here.