Originally published on metropolis.co.jp on May 2010
A small-town Texas girl desperate to escape her smothering, pageant-obsessed stage mom (Marcia Gay Harden) and her understanding but TV sports-crazed father discovers life’s meaning in the sport(?) of women’s roller derby. Small but fast and fairly vicious, she adopts the rink name of Babe Ruthless, and joins Maggie Mayhem, Smashley Simpson, Eva Destruction, Iron Maven, Rosa Sparks and Bloody Holly in whatever it is they do in roller derby. I just had to include those names. Drew Barrymore has been watching people make movies since she started acting at age 5, and for her directorial debut has chosen a safe sports-formula flick. Her direction is competent, the film is well paced, and there’s a gal-power message going on. It’s got guts and there’s a sense of fun. But it would have gone largely unnoticed had she not cast the incomparable Ellen Page in the lead. And though Page’s performance here is not nearly as hilariously foul-mouthed as in Juno or as scary as in Hard Candy, she’s the reason to see the film. Drew’s first has a few flaws, but it’s way, way better than the usual pap being thrown at young-girl audiences these days. Japanese title: Roller Girls Diary.