Saw Juno last night. And I want to be real careful not to hype this one up too much because it's the kind of film you'll enjoy more if you go in not expecting much. My friend made a good point when he said that it's this year's "you're hip if you love it" flick. And that might turn off some people -- you might get folks who didn't love it, but say they loved it just to fit in with everyone else. Remember Garden State? Yes, Juno is quirky -- it's got the whole hip soundtrack thing down, pop-culture references, original characters who speak in their own warped, teen-influenced language. It's Knocked Up lite. Instead of curses, you get words like "home-skillet;" instead of "c*ck," you get "junk;" and instead of an obsession with naked women on film, you get an obsession with old rock music. But it's fun, it's cute, it's got a wicked sense of humor and it's got one of this year's best on-screen female performances.
When people talk about Juno, they rave about Diablo Cody's script. And it's a good script, don't get me wrong -- I'd love to read it one day -- but the film truly belongs to Ellen Page. Come Oscar time, Cody will most likely be nominated for original screenplay (pretty much a given at this point), but they'd be making a huge mistake if they overlook Page's career-defining performance here. In short, she's a powerhouse. She commands your attention in every scene, and you'd be hard-pressed to find an actress who could've pulled off a similar (or better) performance in that role. Of course, it's also a dangerous role for Page: last thing we need is this girl to show up as the angsty, sarcastic teenager in every dark comedy the future holds. But for now, in this film, she's perfect. I'll even go on record as saying out of all the teenage talent coming up, Page is the one with the most promise going forward. Ten years from now, this girl could very well be the best actress in Hollywood.
But if she is nominated for best actress, and all this attention is thrust upon her, what will her future film slate look like? Will she succumb to the high-priced offers and wind up starring opposite Jon Heder in some stupid romantic comedy? Will they throw her in an Iraq war film in order to get her teen following to give a crap about politics? So far, so good -- she's got one role lined up in the lesbian flick Jack and Diane (opposite her Juno co-star, Olivia Thirlby), and she's got the ensemble piece Smart People. However, Oscar hasn't knocked on her door yet with a basket full of mediocre scripts and a bundle of cash. Is it better to highlight her talent now on Hollywood's biggest stage, or should we let her fly under the radar for a few more years, guaranteeing us an assortment of meaty, challenging roles? You make the call.