Ellen Page and the great hipster reveal
I’ve already written about Juno and its/her transition from hipster posturing to simple sincerity. But I just watched Ellen Paige’s other starring vehicle, Hard Candy, and wanted to note some similarities.
In Hard Candy, Page plays a young girl named Haley who meets an uncomfortably (for the audience) flirtatious thirty-something photographer on the internet. She naively agrees to meet him for coffee where they talk and connect. They both read Zadie Smith and love the band Goldfrap. One thing leads to another and Haley ends up in his apartment, drinking screwdrivers and asking him to take pictures of her.
Later, we learn that Haley is not such an unwitting victim — she’s a teenage vigilante seeking vengeance on child predators. It’s a clever flip on pulp movies where victims of rape turn into mankillers — I can’t say it made for a good film or that it was socially satisfying in any way, but it was a twist that I didn’t really see coming.
Anyways, at one point, in order to drive home that Haley isn’t the little innocent girl he thought she was, Haley screams at the photographer that, contrary to their coffeeshop discussion, she “fucking hates Goldfrap.” This recalls the scene in Juno where she tells Jason Bateman’s character, “Oh yeah, I listened to Sonic Youth. It’s nothing but noise.”
In both films, Page’s character poses (yes, I chose that word purposefully), to some degree, to be a precocious, hipster, cultural know-it-all. A really young hipster-snob that older hipsters find cute. But both films also have her cast off that identity halfway through and prove to be something more by reducing a band to something less.
I’m not really going anywhere with this, just noting a pattern. Something about all this strikes a chord with how I see Page in real life interviews. There’s definitely a level of hipster-meta-awareness (what thee fuck did I just say?) in her real persona — I just can’t decide if she’s somewhere before the great reveal, or after.