YOUTH springs eternal for Ellen Page. Oscar nominated for her role as a pregnant 16-year-old in the raucous comedy Juno, the 23-year-old Canadian actress has forged a career playing dysfunctional and pithy teenagers.
There are more growing pains in Whip It!, the auspicious directorial debut of Drew Barrymore based on the novel Derby Girl, by Shauna Cross.
Set in the cut-throat world of women's roller derby, this unabashedly entertaining tale of female empowerment puts a traditional coming-of-age story on four wheels and celebrates the sisterly solidarity within a low-ranked team as its feisty members body-check their way up the league.
Novelist Cross lovingly adapts her book for the screen and she retains all of the humour and the pathos, keeping the tone relatively light to hold the interest of teenage audiences who will appreciate the heroine's struggle for independence.
Hormonally charged teenager, Bliss Cavendar (Page), lives in sleepy Bodeen, Texas, where she is at the mercy of her beauty-pageant obsessed mom, Brooke (Harden).
Ungainly and unfeminine, Bliss loves indie music and she stands little chance of winning the Miss Blue Bonnet Pageant, which Brooke is convinced will be her daughter's ticket to fame and fortune.
"You need to stop shoving your psychotic idea of 50s womanhood down my throat," threatens the teenager.