Smart People : Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

I think Ellen Page is a wonderful actress, and I really enjoyed both "Juno" and "Smart People." However, I'm concerned about this trend I'm noticing in both of these movies. I haven't seen her other films, so I don't know if it just occurs in these two, or others. But it seems like her character is always preyed on by older men. Why is pedophilia (the attraction of older people to younger underage people) something that totally has no consequence in both of these movies?

In "Juno" the husband was divorcing his wife so he could live with Juno, who was a minor. All that happened to him was he went through with the divorce. And Juno was warned by her step-mother not to step on boundaries between married people. Why was it Juno's responsibility? Wasn't it also the husband's?

In "Smart People" the adopted uncle coerced her into smoking pot and getting drunk and when she kissed him because she was under the influence, he blamed it completely on her. He later apologizes at the end of the movie, but promptly blames it on her again. He says that it was *her* misunderstanding. He was just "being nice." He gets away with it too.

I'm concerned that this lack of attention paid to the fact that both movies had themes of pedophilia are damaging. Is pedophilia no longer a problem in our society? Or does it only hit a nerve when it's young children instead of teenagers?

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Watch Hard Candy. https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/data.filmboards/images/emoticons/smile.GIF" alt="smile.gif">


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Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

that was my first thought too. haha

"This is the world's smallest violin playing just for the waitresses." - Mr Pink

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

> Watch Hard Candy

Don't, that was a sick POS.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Don't forget Tracey Fragments and Mouth to Mouth

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Check out At The Video Store for cool reviews. http://atthevs.blogspot.com">http://atthevs.blogspot.com

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Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

I fear you may have read a little too much into the scenes and it seems that pedophilia is more of a theme in your thinking rather than the film. I have a young daughter and at no time did I get the impression he was trying to take advantage of her. She wasn't preyed upon, she got high and drunk and this doof of an uncle (who was very funny) was partly to blame. Someone as smart as she was had some sort of idea what she was doing. You're making this out like Ellen Page was 6 years old or something. Get the pedophiles off the brain and try and not read so much into every little thing. It was a dark comedy. I wonder if every film you ever watch, (where the guy says something like "I'd love to nail that") and then some 17 year old babe walks by you consider a pedophile. American Beauty for example. Kevin Spacey's character was not a pedophile and she was 17. Was that kiddie porn to you? Can't wait to hear the answer on this one.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

"I have a young daughter and at no time did I get the impression he was trying to take advantage of her." Yeah, I have four daughters, and I never thought the uncle was sexually attracted to the niece. The scene where he asks her not to comment on his pants looking good on him spells out pretty clearly who's still being inappropriate and who's setting boundaries about that.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Just want to thank you for a very intelligent and thought out post.

I disagree about the relationship in "Smart People." I never saw the uncle as being attracted to her at all, he just wanted her to loosen up a bit and be more like a 'normal' teenager. After the kiss, the uncle makes it perfectly clear that he thinks they'd been spending too much time together. I do think Ellen Page's character misunderstood, so I think that 'pedophilia' is up for interpretation.

I did feel uncomfortable with their relationship, though.

Umm…let me think about your question. I think it only really hits a nerve when the child involved in really young. Page's character was 17, probably turning 18 soon since she was going to college.


~"Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies."~

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

A pedophile is an adult who goes after pre-pubescent children. So that would make the uncle not a pedophile.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

He didn't go after her. She went after him and he didn't even kiss back.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Pedophilia is not the right word, as someone else pointed out this is the attraction of an adult to a prepubescent child and does not apply in either of the cases you stated. There's a similar word for adults attracted to post-pubescent teens but I don't know what it is.

I also don't see how you deduced from the film that the Uncle, Chuck, was attracted to Vanessa. He wasn't trying to seduce her at all. Persuading someone to smoke pot and have a drink is not seduction. If it was, I'd be a lot better at it… The whole point was that he saw that she was in trouble, that she was in danger of growing up like her terminally miserable and misanthropic Father, so he, clumsily, wanted to show her another side of life. It had nothing whatsoever to do with seduction.

Also in Juno, just to note, the husband was not divorcing his wife to be with Juno, he *did* try to seduce her but he wasn't leaving his wife for her. This is, apparently, clarified in the DVD release, which contains deleted scenes showing him hitting on other women.

In Hard Candy the entire premise of the film does fulfill your observation though, she is the prey of a sexual predator. Aside from a moment in Juno, that's the extent of the theme in any of the films I've seen her in.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters



In smart people she was just lonely. As stated before Chuck was not trying to seduce her he was trying to show her what he thought a normal young person should do. He didn't even want to sleep at the house when he felt weird about their situation.

Chuck saw his brother as a lonely miserable person and was trying to help Ellen's character become more teenager like. In the One scene Ellen's character says she is not happy because her father is not and he is her role model. Chuck says at the end that he's happy with his life. I think Chuck was trying to show her an adult who is happy with his life.

In Juno the scene did creep me out when Juno and Jason Bateman where dancing in his basement in real life she should have pressed charges.



"george bush doesn't care about black people"

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Agreed with all the other posts; the attraction was felt only by Page's character - not the uncle. When he realized what had happened and that he WAS partly to blame for the situation, he started spending much less time at the house. He did what any normal uncle would have done in that situation.
And I disagree with the assertion that he blames everything on Vanessa at the end, as well. He doesn't necessarily BLAME her or judge her for what she did, but he acknowledges that it's the reason he stopped living at the house. She agreed, and saw his side of it rather than acting like a petulant baby as before.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters


Someone mentioned that Ellen Page's character was "smart" and "knew what she was doing." Right, because the headline says, "Someones smart people have the most to learn."

And if you don't think it's odd that older men are hitting on her characters - how would you feel if a thirtysomething wanted your seventeen year old daughter? And don't you dare say you wouldn't mind - you would. God, some of you people are so weird when it comes to movies, like it doesn't matter because it's a movie, and you condone it, and you say you'd approve if it were your daughter and blah blah blah, but you wouldn't. People are such *beep*

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

I like your first paragraph. And infact, I thought that it was very true that even though it was portrayed as what many have mentioned, I thought to agree with your first paragraph which enhanced the effect portrayed as the movie went on for Ellen Page's character. That can also be seen through Dennis Quaid's character.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Exactly, it's not pedophilia for two reasons:
- The uncle didn't try to sexually exploit her, and actively rejected her come-on, after recognizing his blunder in getting her wasted.
- Even if he had exploited her, it wouldn't be pedophilia, because she's beyond adolescence and pedophilia is sexual attraction to pre-adolescent children.

If the uncle had tried to sexually exploit her, it would have been "ephebophilia" or "hebephilia", sexual attraction to post-adolescent children.

Points to you for pointing out the misuse of the term "pedophilia".

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Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

The word is "ephebophilia" - the attraction to girls that are post puberty, but not adult.

Honestly… Ellen Page's characters in "Juno" and "Smart People" were not "children" (although they're not quite "adult" either).

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

There's a similar word for adults attracted to post-pubescent teens but I don't know what it is.
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Um…when looking throughout the centuries, across most cultures, I'd have to say it called…."pretty normal". There are still, in many parts of the world girls giving birth and marrying in their mid teens (clearly post pubescent) on a regular basis. It's not very controversial from a world wide stand point. In the US, puritan notions & inclinations still prevail.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

I don't think he was divorcing his wife because he wanted to live with Juno. I think Juno just made him realize that he wasn't happy in the relationship.

In this place, it's strange to say.
You're the only angel I ever gave away.-The Hush Sound

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

well, first all pedophlia is defined as an adult attracted to children and has nothing to do with pre- pubescent - and i think the original poster has a valid point since all of these filmmakers go out of their way to play upon page's youth - and dressing her up as a very young and androgynous

but i think this has been a trend in a lot of "indie" movies made recently (i mean wasn't natalie portman doing these same roles before she got too old for them) - and personally i think the trend is a very unhealthy one - back when i was a teenager all of the kids i knew wanted to be steve mcqueen, paul newman and robert redford - seems like now middle aged men want to michael cera - go figure

Because you've been harassing us and because of your love of the New Kids On The Block movie.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

"but i think this has been a trend in a lot of "indie" movies made recently"

What other films demonstrate this 'trend'? I can't think of any.

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Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

You and Me and Everyone You Know, Happiness, Ghostworld and to a lesser extent Garden State and Election. And those are just the "indie hits". There a lot of other films like them clogging up the shelves at post houses all over LA.

Because you've been harassing us and because of your love of the New Kids On The Block movie.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

what le tigre said. Pedophilia involves children. Here.. she's developed…

I guess you could claim incest though.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

yes it does involve children - but since the filmmakers always play up ellen page's androgynous and youthful qualities - the original poster has a point as far as i am concerned - and i do find it odd that the "indie" film world that is supposedly so much better and smart than regular hollywood loves to focus and even excuse these relationships that are unhealthy and immature - and i know what's coming next - she went after the guy in hard candy - but the film was completely based on the titilation of that premise - it was just as disingenuous as the local news talking all night about kiddie porn in their promos to get ratings and then claiming to be crusading against it - hard candy was selling the taboo relationship and reveling in ellen page's youthfulness - and it wasn't a very good movie either -

Because you've been harassing us and because of your love of the New Kids On The Block movie.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

The responses so far to my original post are really fascinating to me. I'm glad that people are responding because it tells me that I'm not the only one thinking about this. I'm glad that the trend has been noticed in other indie films, and that's very intriguing. I wonder if this trend is simply a reflection of what's out there in our culture because we know this happens all the time.

The comment about guys seeing a 17-year-old in a bar and telling all his guy friends I'd love to nail that one is an example. Which by the way yes, it does bother me because it's offensive to say that to anyone, and that could be your sister, dude, and how would you feel if someone said that about her? Wouldn't you feel a tad protective?

Also, I have to say that, if pot and beer aren't working for you as seduction tools…I hear that Rophinol, the date rape drug of choice, is still quite popular these days and you might try that one. Please note the sarcasm.

So maybe pedophile is too strong a word to label both the male characters in these movies. I do understand that most pedophiles are attracted to prepubescent children (age 13 and younger). Yet there also seems to be this creepy feeling that comes up for other people when looking at these two relationships. It is creepy when older people hit on minors. I'm glad I'm not the only one out there who feels a little uneasy about it.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

I think you need to read Romeo And Juliet before you make judgements.
Juliet was 13 Romeo was 17 and the person Juliet's parents wanted her to marry was in his 20s, that I think is pretty wrong since they were prepared to force her into it, yet the story is widely considered to be the most romantic ever written.
Too many people seem willing to make the judgement that an older guy with a young girl is wrong, that is a societal judgement that is totally against nature and is one of the most offensive things humanity does.
When a girl reaches puberty nature is declaring her ready to bear children - and that means to have sex - so why should it be wrong for a man to be attracted to someone that nature is announcing ready for a sexual relationship.
As an added note, something that is ignored by a number of countries - notably America - those countries that have a lower age limit for sex and don't declare someone a pedophile for looking at a teenage girl have much less of a problem with teen pregnancy, stds, and sex crimes.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Older dudes and younger ladies is not a new trend. Anna Karenina and Lolita come to mind, and it occurs in fiction because it is in human nature to match up that way.

Even with social mores (correctly, I feel) pressuring young girls to not become romantically involved at a young age, the average marrying age (in the U.S. for example) differs by three years between women and men. If one looks at less commercially developed nations that gap gets significantly wider as the average age of females sexually activity gets younger.

While western culture (again, correctly) puts legal pressure on the older individual (read: the male) to avoid these relationships, the attraction is not a one-way street. All one has to do is hang around 13-year-old girls to know they are more interested in near-adult males than they are their own peers, or 17-year-old girls, who are exclusively interested in legally adult males to see that.

SPOILERS AHEAD

Regarding this (mostly boring) movie, the older uncle has no romantic interest in Page's character. The romantic interest is exclusively hers, and he responds to it exactly how I would hope the uncle to one of my daughters would. He assures her that she is an attractive and interesting person, but declines the advance firmly and clearly.

I resoundingly agree with those who suggested Hard Candy (or The Tracey Fragments, which I found less enjoyable) to anyone creeped out by this movie. I think it will lend a wonderful sense of perspective.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

I feel you mostly. I don't see it in Garden State though, unless you are talking about the party where they all drop ex and the one guy says they're old enough. I can kinda see that, but I thought it was pretty obvious that they were old enough, and Sam was old enough because they were at a bar.
And in Ghostworld they had already graduated from high school. To be fair I haven't seen that movie in a few years though, so I might be forgetting an important part.

Also, not sure if you guys have seen the trailer yet for The Tracey Fragments, but it is a new movie starring Ellen Page. In it she plays a fifteen-year-old girl, and in a few of the shots it looks like there is an attempted rape. Something to think about.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

(How is Election a _lesser_ example of this?)

The previously mentioned films of Natalie Portman are a good example of what we're supposed to get out of Smart People. The deleted scenes from Leon: The Professional, would/should make every viewer uncomfortable. (I assume their riskiness is why they were taken from the final print)

On the other hand, Beautiful Girls sets up Portman's character to be practically the ideal woman for Timothy Hutton's character. Her character is so appealingly portrayed that she outshines Hutton's very physically attractive, genuine love-interest. Yet, in this film, neither character acts upon their attraction. This lets the viewers of the film like both characters.

The idea that Portman and Page get cast in these roles because petite and waifish (youthful & androgynous) is supposed to be a more attractive example of physical appearance is completely incorrect. They are cast in these roles so that as viewers of the film we know we're supposed to view the relationships as awkward or socially unacceptable.

If anyone is concerned with making female minors into sex objects the far more relevant examples are the videos of Britney Spears and the like. Clearly, adult males were supposed to be sexually attracted to a school-girl-uniform-wearing Britney, and they weren't supposed to consider whether that attraction is wrong. They were supposed to buy the Pepsi. Try replacing Page with whoever is the current, over-sexualized, teeny-bopper flavor-of-the-month and you'll see.

The very fact that every viewer (and the characters within the film) were able to recognize that the actions between the uncle and niece were inappropriate was an indictment of pedophilia (legally), or ephebophilia (in actuality) rather than an endorsement. Viewers didn't need to see Church's character get hauled off and executed to make that clear.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

"Ghostworld" IIRC the lead character was eighteen in Ghostworld. Who was attracted to who in Election?

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

"well, first all pedophlia is defined as an adult attracted to children and has nothing to do with pre- pubescent"

Pedophilia = sexual attraction to children who haven't hit puberty

Ephebophilia (e FEEB o feel e ah) is a sexual attraction to postpubescent adolescents.

True pedophiles generally lose interest in a girl once her body shows signs of the onset of puberty. Liking "jailbait" is still wrong, but it's not pedophilia. It's another sickness entirely.

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Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Sorry, idiot, but it was HER feelings of repression that surfaced when she was intoxicated and she pushed herself on Thomas Haden Church's character, not the other way around. Perhaps you are seeing a bit too much of your own self in this. Seek some couseling to understand why you were touched as a little child. It's not your fault.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

I could've done without this subplot (or whatever the term is). It creeped me out. I can see they were trying to draw a portrait of these emotionally stunted folks but, like other elements in the movie, it seemed contrived and awkward.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

If someone is over 18, even though you may feel its strange to date/sleep with a much older man (i.e. Ghostworld) that is NOT pedophilia or anything of the nature. I think some people are using their personal connotations of the word here instead of the actual definition.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Warn of Spoilers!!!

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

We can't shoot the messenger. If there is a trend in indie films, which I'm not sure is fair, it's only because film themes are reflecting common social dynamics. I can't go anywhere with my two daughters (12 & 14) without male heads of all ages turning. I'm not dumb enough to fool myself it's for me. Dress them up, dress them down, it doesn't matter how the girls leave the house– there appears to be something tragically appealing for men in the still innocent female. Hopefully those with integrity know that young kids are to be protected rather than preyed upon, but today's news alone about the 400 plus Zion sect children is terrifying. These men have institutionalized their supply of fresh meat, possibly even their own young relatives, and they've done it in the name of religion. How smart are they? Everyone's out there policing movie content for trivializing or sensationalizing pot, sex etc., meanwhile, and as always, the really, really dangerous stuff is going on behind the closed doors of the pious. Watching those 'mothers' on TV, hearing their identical little girl/arrested development voices, something documented in female adult survivors of sexual abuse, I could only wonder what horrors had kept them trapped in their infantile states. I pity the people charged with cleaning up this mess. Where would you even begin?

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters


The point a lot of people are trying to make in this thread is that you (the original poster) have completely misinterpreted the relationship between Vanessa and Chuck in this film.

There is no evidence at all that Chuck is at any point attracted to or trying to seduce Vanessa. Quite the opposite. As soon as he realises that his clumsy attempts to befriend and help her have lead to *her* being attracted to *him* he immediately withdraws from her emotionally and physically and is visibly uncomfortable when he is around her.

There are no older people hitting on minors in this film.

Furthermore this is not a recent "trend", it is a dramatic theme that is common in all dramatic arts including film, from 'Gigi' to 'Taxi Driver' to 'Juno'.

I think any sane person would agree that it's creepy when a mature adult hits on a teenager, it made my skin crawl when I realised that Mark was being more than a friend to Juno in 'Juno', but there's nothing like that in this film.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Hi, miles-29,

I very much agree. This is my "take" as well.

I'm glad laine-little brought this up though because I do think there are disturbing trends in this area. And it's definitely worth asking the kinds of questions laine-little raises.

Juno I think deserves some of the criticism directed to it for exactly this reason. But Smart People I think handles Vanessa's crush on Chuck, and Chuck's response, very well. In fact, it's one of the ironies of the plot that Chuck … who we're given to understand at first to be a very immature character … shows himself to be very mature indeed regarding his relationship with Vanessa once the "crush" is revealed.

Charles Delacroix

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

I think she is talented also but maybe that's the only characters that she can portray honestly. I'm not saying that she herself is that way.

I think I can agree with you in part that she does seems to play every willing young female pawn.

Watch the movie Hard Candy and you'll realize that she played the part being bait and then predator.

She's going to typecast herself as the last three movies were all the same character.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters


Pedophilia is not the right word, as someone else pointed out this is the attraction of an adult to a prepubescent child and does not apply in either of the cases you stated. There's a similar word for adults attracted to post-pubescent teens but I don't know what it is.


The word you are thinking of is Ephebophile or hebophile, both are interchangeably.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Yeah, she wasn't like 12 years old, it's not pedophiliatic to like a chick who is like 17 or 18, and extremely hot.

Also, the husband didn't divorce his wife to be with her in Juno.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

Pedophilia has to do with pre-pubescent children, so the very title of this thread is bogus. Since she was preggers in Juno, that's definitely out.

The point is: her child-woman character in each film has ambiguous but not creepy relationships with older men.

Re: Pedophilia and Ellen Page's characters

"In "Smart People" the adopted uncle coerced her into smoking pot and getting drunk and when she kissed him because she was under the influence, he blamed it completely on her. He later apologizes at the end of the movie, but promptly blames it on her again. He says that it was *her* misunderstanding. He was just "being nice." He gets away with it too."

Got away with what? I didn't see that.
It's a movie. He was playing the "Quirky Uncle."

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