Serving Mapleton, Illinois since 2022

Mapleton Mail

Breaking Barriers and so Much More With Minnesota Roller Derby

Minnesota Mean


Genre: Documentary
Year Released: 2023
Runtime: 1h 21m
Director(s): Dawn Mikkelson
Where To Watch: for more information, visit

RAVING REVIEW: MINNESOTA MEAN takes viewers on a ride through the lives of several key members of the Minnesota RollerGirls, an elite roller derby team, as they strive for the illustrious Hydra trophy that is awarded annually to the top women's flat track roller derby team in the world, as determined at the International WFTDA Championships tournament each fall.

As the competitive atmosphere intensifies, the team loses skaters for various reasons, making them dig deep to bring out their best. The film examines the heart of roller derby, presenting a diverse cast of determined, independent women from various backgrounds and identities (straight, gay, trans, and more). The story vividly portrays victory, defeat, perseverance, determination, and the ongoing quest to balance personal identity and a sense of community.

The film is ultimately about far more than roller derby; it’s about these women’s lives who use derby to express themselves and as a journey to discover who they are. The documentary chronicles a year in the lives of these players amidst adversity. Can these athletes tap into their true potential?

MINNESOTA MEAN is an emotionally charged drama that captures the essence of roller derby while celebrating the power of self-reliant women. The film offers a timely and insightful exploration of triumph, loss, grit, determination, and the balance between individuality and team. The story poses thought-provoking questions about how independent women can succeed in a teamwork-oriented sport and how they can navigate the sport's challenges while chasing their dreams beyond the rink. Ultimately, the film is a tribute to the strength and resilience in our bodies, hearts, minds, and friendships.

The MINNESOTA MEAN soundtrack contains about 90% music from the gifted artist Dessa and perfectly accompanies the film with her striking yet introspective hip-hop vibes. Dessa has a dedicated following in the United States and the UK, as well as hosting the BBC podcast "Deeply Human."

The film's director, editor, and producer, Dawn Mikkelson, advocates for stories and voices that are frequently marginalized and underrepresented. A common thread in Mikkelson's work is the power and resilience within families formed through community bonds. With an impressive background in broadcasting, Mikkelson recently co-directed, edited, and produced the highly acclaimed film FINDING HER BEAT. This project, brought to life by a primarily female/nonbinary, Asian-American, and LGBTQ ensemble of cast and crew, tackles the glaring underrepresentation of marginalized genders and people of color in the film industry.

Ultimate, this is a two-for-one documentary, we get the story of a derby team and their quest to win the championship, but along the way, we get mini-documentaries on the women who made this team's heart. This documentary is for you if you want an inspiring story that will leave you with a smile.

For more reviews and my YouTube channel, please visit

Follow me on Letterboxd, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube. Find my social media accounts on most platforms simply by searching Overly Honest Movie Reviews.

I’m always happy to hear from my readers; please say hi or send me any questions about movies.

[photo courtesy of EMERGENCE PICTURES]

Chris Jones
Entertainment Editor

Chris Jones is the Mail Entertainment Editor covering Movies and Television topics. He is from Washington, Illinois, and is the owner, writer, and editor of Overly Honest Reviews.