I have written and deleted this post several times over the past month. But I have reached the tipping point and can no longer contain the simmering disgust.
The movie, the screenwriter and the star of Juno do not need defending, especially from a small time blogger like me. But I’ve read almost every article and interview about all three, and the growing backlash has been surprisingly vicious.
Some people just can’t be happy for this film and those involved, primarily because of the script. Many describe the dialogue as unrealistic or phony, but that is the way that young people talk; I have teenage nieces, and they definitely have their own lingo. Besides, everyone enjoys a new catchphrase or two. I’m 35 years old, and I found the screenplay to be a breath of fresh air among the smoggy, stale others we are subjected to year in and year out.
Did people have a similarly strong reaction to critical indie darling Little Miss Sunshine last year? No, because their screenwriter didn’t have a previous stint as a stripper. Whoopteedoo, boys. Cody wrote Candy Girl, an autobiographical look back at the year she worked in various strip clubs, and then she moved on and wrote the script for Juno. They are not related, but that is all that some seem to focus in on (primarily male commentators and bloggers). Cody is not shying away from that aspect of her life in interviews; it is simply irrelevant to her current project and acclaim.
The anger toward both Cody and Ellen Page comes across as sheer jealousy and immaturity. Page is young, talented and unconventional. She is not tabloid fodder, nor does she aspire to be. Page has done nothing to draw negative or unwanted attention to herself, and has gone about promoting her film like most other stars do. I love that she lives a quiet little life up in Nova Scotia, and I look forward to her future roles and choices. She is smart and refreshing, not unlike Juno herself. There is absolutely no reason for anyone to dislike Ellen Page or cast unwarranted aspersions in her direction, at least until she does something that deserves such criticism.
To be honest, I will no longer peruse a select few entertainment websites that used to be daily reads, because the comments about Cody and Juno have become increasingly sexist and outrageously insulting.
And frankly, I hope that Ellen Page does win Best Actress tonight. I have been rooting for Diablo Cody from day one for Best Original Screenplay. Last night, Page, Cody and Juno won the major categories at the Independent Spirit Awards. Hell, if Juno sweeps in with a stealthy Best Picture win at the Oscars, I will stand up and cheer. Out of all 5 nominees for the main prize, Juno has earned far more at the box office and is a pop culture phenomenon. Atonement, No Country for Old and There Will Be Blood are fantastic films, but dark and depressing; Juno is a walk in the park on a sunny afternoon with your new puppy.
If Juno does win, the vitriol will be far worse than it is now. Inevitable comparisons to Crash over Brokeback will begin, but I will contend that Juno is far more deserving than Crash ever was.
Grrrr. I’m ready for my customary champagne and red carpet commentary now.
Let the shenanigans begin.