After a run-in with the law, Haley Graham (Missy Peregrym) is forced to return to the world from which she fled some years ago. Enrolled in an elite gymnastics program run by the legendary Burt Vickerman (Jeff Bridges), Haley's rebellious attitude gives way to something that just might be called team spirit.
In a town near Austin, Bliss Cavendar's strong-willed mom believes Bliss, at 17, can win pageants - the key to a happy life. Bliss isn't the beauty pageant type: she's shy, quiet, and has just one friend, Pash, her fellow waitress at a diner. Things change for Bliss when she discovers a women's roller derby league in Austin, tries out, proves to be whip fast, and makes a team. Now she needs to become someone tough on the rink, keep her parents from finding out where she goes twice a week, and do something about a first crush, on a musician she meets at the derby. Meanwhile, mom still sees Bliss as Miss Bluebonnet. Things are on a collision course; will everyone get banged up? Written by
While it's a coming of age story we've seen before the film being set against roller derby makes it's something new and different. I saw this movie yesterday at TIFF and the screenwriter was there for the Q&A. This story is taken from her experiences discovering roller derby and many of the characters are based on real people. The writer is also from Texas and grew up near Austin where the story is set. Ellen Page and Marcia Gay Harden are excellent and the mother/daughter scenes are very real. Ellen Page did all her own stunts - learning to skate which adds a lot to the movie. Many of the older actresses did many of their stunts as well so the wipe outs and the scrapes and bruises are real!! Kristen Wigg is also great - one of the first times I've seen her be a real person on screen instead of just a funny character.
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