On The Same Page

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I have to say that I am rooting for little Ellen Page. I love all Canadian actors (and hold an extra special place in my heart for ones that still live here, Rachel McAdams!), and it’s nice to see them land increasingly high-profile roles and accolades (like marrying Scarlett Johansson, Ryan Reynolds!).

I recently, along with the rest of the world, tuned into Christopher Nolan’s mindbending ‘Inception’ which featured Ellen Page in the odd-named role of dream architect, Ariadne (Are-ree-ahd-nay), a role Evan Rachel Wood turned down. Page seemed like a slightly odd choice given her age, and her glibness, next to the other characters, but she performed well enough and added a new genre and type of role to her belt. The role was a bit thankless at times – Ariadne had to be the one to deliver a ton of exposition as the newest member of the pack – but in general I found myself relating to her as a fellow noob to the world of dreamwalking.

That being said, I think Page is a bit of a polarizing character. Like Kristen Stewart, a lot of people don’t necessarily dig the way she shys away from excessive media attention, ditto to her tomboy persona (and those lingering ‘is she gay?’ rumblings). Ariadne, relatively speaking, was a departure for a girl who is best known for playing smart-talking upstart teenagers with funny names.

Cases in point? I loved Juno, where Page played the title role of Juno MacGuff. Diablo Cody’s hipper-than-thou script was a bit ‘much’ sometimes, but not so much that it ruined the film for me. In fact I felt like Page was born to play this character – the words tumbled so naturally out of her mouth it never felt as contrived as it would if you were just sitting there and reading the screenplay. A lot of my contemporaries however, particularly ones over the age of 35, shared less than rosy feelings towards the film. They argued the love story between Juno and Michael Cera’s character was unbelievable (no chemistry, they said, sparking the first of the lesbian rumours), the screenwriting was irritating, and the story wasn’t particularly original. I disagree on the last point in particular – show me another American-made film that so deftly handles teenage pregnancy as heart-warmingly and honestly as this film does.

Page also played an upstart Republican to the extreme in Smart People (with the relatively normal name of Vanessa), an indie-princess-turned-riotgrrl named Bliss in Whip It, and a handful of other indie film roles. Part of me kind of groaned when I heard her character names in Whip It and Inception. There’s no better way to foster that pretentious indie reputation than by listing Juno, Ariadne, and Bliss on your resume.

Still, I’m on team Ellen. Regardless of whether she’s a lesbian (“Why can’t I just hug another woman with my legs in friendship” a la SNL), plays cutesy indie types for the rest of her life, or tentatively ventures into grand-scale arthouse fare a la ‘Inception’, I’m rooting for this Canadian girl and her niche place in the industry to keep on rolling. Girl has already done WAY better than the last major indie hilarity better known as Napoleon Dynamite (as portrayed by Jon Heder) and I don’t see that stopping anytime soon. So jump on the Ellen Page train with me people!

- Britt’s On


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