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.