Monday, March 17, 2008
Juno what I think?
Juno, the film, is about teenage pregnancy. It divides critics. There are those who find it awkward and clunky and others like myself who had a real laugh and thought it very wittily written. Talking to people who hated it and restraining myself from adversarial passion (something I have to guard against) I tried to be the researcher Iâ€™m normally paid to be. Listening, eliciting, clarifying, corroborating. And what do you know, out of the data sprang a central theme, just as it is supposed to in my own research methodology books.
People liked her stepmother. They liked her father. They thought her boyfriend was played to a brilliant dumb T and her ebullient girlfriend was fine. What they didnâ€™t like was her. The pregnant one played by Ellen Page. She irritated some. She just wasnâ€™t believable said others. Nobody speaks like that. Sheâ€™s far too knowing for a sixteen year old. Sheâ€™s so weird that you canâ€™t identify with her.
Now many, if not all, these critical beings go happily to super hero movies or Woody Allen comedies or the Truman Show/ Groundhog Day/Inside John Malkovich surrealities and chatter happily about â€˜genreâ€™ and how they like it because it does what it says on the big round flat metal can. Juno, on the other hand, apparently, is not enough of this world. Art, since the Dadaists, has been as much about the improbable as the real and every day and film is a wonderful medium for exciting our attention about what might be.
It seems to pass the detractors by that Ellen Page plays a smart oddball and creates a role model for young women to be different, uninterested in anorexia as a fashion statement, uninterested in bronzed, loudmouthed, made-to-order boys, uninterested in most of the values of her sub-prime, credit-crunchy culture and, finally, wants to find her own way, no matter what obstacles social expectations throw at her.
Which is why I liked it so much. I may not have daughters but I am looking to my grand daughters to pick up on her batty intelligence and run with it.