WEIRDLAND: TIFF Report: Drew Barrymore & Ellen Page in ‘Whip It’

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

TIFF Report: Drew Barrymore & Ellen Page in ‘Whip It’

Drew Barrymore & Ellen Page at "Whip it!" premiere, Ryerson Theatre, TIFF, on 13th September, 2009.
"I like Drew Barrymore. Always have. As she got older I liked the way she talks, the manner in which she treats you as an old friend, embracing me each time we meet. Though I never thought much of her as an actress until this year, I have always liked her, knowing that she was less an actress than a movie star. This year I wanted the chance to tell her how much I adored her performance in the HBO film Grey Gardens, which should win her an Emmy Award for Best Actress next weekend. She smiled, I thought I saw a tear and thanked me.“Knowing how tough you are with performances in films that means a lot to me”, she smiled.She is here at the Toronto International Film Festival with her new film Whip It which she not only stars in, but directed. Yep, Drew Barrymore has directed a film. Though some will shake their heads and ask what the world is coming to when this young lady is allowed to direct a feature film, others will celebrate the fact a woman actually gets to make a movie about women. That is after all what is most exciting about Whip It: That Barrymore has made a film about women and for women without shutting men out.The film is set in the world of roller derby, which really had its heyday in the mid to late seventies, but is now enjoying a comeback as a grassroots sort of entertainment.As a director Barrymore does a nice job plunging us into the world of roller derby. Bliss (Ellen Page) is tired of being placed in beauty pageants by her mother, a faded debutante who wants her daughter to have the glory she never did. While in Texas, Bliss attends a roller derby match and is hooked on the game, finding it both fast-paced and everything she has never been allowed to do. She dives into the sport and is soon living a double life (or trying to), as a beauty queen and roller derby hellcat. Page is outstanding as Bliss, proving again she is very likely the finest young actress working in cinema today. She slips effortlessly under the skin of this character and inhabits her in every way, and after meeting Ellen Page a few times, I can safely say that the characters she creates bear no connection to her at all. She quite simply disappears into the role. The real stars of the film however, are the supporting cast who steal the show, including Barrymore as Smashie Simpson, Zoe Bell as Bloody Holly and perhaps best of all Juliette Lewis as the dangerous Iron Maven.Whip It is fun to watch, and the girls look they are having a blast on screen, and perhaps that more than anything else is Barrymore’s greatest accomplishment as a director: She made a film people had fun making and that audiences will have fun watching". Source:

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