Ellen Page on “Juno” and weird connotations


I sometimes dread reading interviews

with actors. You know what I mean — you’re taken with that rare

strong, intelligent female lead on a TV show or movie, and then

you hear her interviewed on Letterman. She simpers.

Or she voted for Bush, both times. And watching her act is never

quite the same again. But this is never the case with Ellen Page, lately of Juno fame. (If you missed it, you

can, in fact, see her smart interview with Letterman here.)

Page gave an interview over

the weekend with WashingtonPost.com, and the only person who made me cringe

was the interviewer, who couldn’t resist a Canadian joke or obvious

question. One subject was the critical “backlash” against Juno

that began its multi-pronged attack after the film picked up four Oscar

nods. Nobody around here is guilty of that crime, but some critics have

been trash-talking the film.

For one, Vanity

‘s S.T. VanAirsdale, complains about the movie’s placement next to There Will Be Blood and No

Country for Old Men
in the Oscar lineup:

“Frankly, I don’t want

to see Juno within a thousand feet of the Kodak Theater. I want

her and her twee champions stopped at the metal detector. I want her

turned away for being underdressed.”

Hmm, no sexist undertones

in this conversation at all. Then there’s also the abortion debate,

complete with politicized readings of the film’s basic plot.

Page’s response? “People are

obviously going to take a movie about teenage pregnancy and figure out

something to talk about. So they can have something to talk about. That’s

what people do.” Well. True. And this talk is sort

of inevitable in a country where any subject dealing with teenagers

and sex morphs into a political debate about abstinence and abortion.

As for the argument that Juno

is a pro-life film (or one of a number of insidious pregnancy


2007), Page dismisses that completely:

“It happens to be a film about

a girl who has a baby and gives it to a yuppie couple. That’s what the

movie’s about. Like, I’m really sorry to everyone that she doesn’t have

an abortion, but that’s not what the film is about. She goes to an abortion

clinic and she completely examines all the opportunities and all the

choices allowed her and that’s obviously the most crucial thing. It’s

as simple as that.”

Of course Page is right about having

the baby being necessary to the film, which is a comedy. I suspect

comedy featuring the issue of abortion is something only Sarah Silverman

would touch.

After all of this, it’s no

surprise that Page lays out her views on feminism with a straightforward


“I call myself a feminist when people ask me if I am,

and of course I am ’cause it’s about equality, so I hope everyone is.

You know you’re working in a patriarchal society when the word feminist

has a weird connotation.”

I really couldn’t agree more.

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