Finally got around to seeing Juno. And it's good. Compelling central performance; snappy script, packed with the sort of one-liners that were just born to be the titles of blog posts; and a cracking soundtrack. (Kimya Dawson, Belle & Seb and the Velvets? With this wry indie-folk you are spoiling us!)
And yet (or maybe because of this) it feels ever so slightly hollow. Yeah, it's edgy, if we mean by that that it doesn't spoonfeed the audience, and runs the risk of annoying some of them: pro-choice and pro-life groups alike have attacked it, which I'm sure cost the producers no sleep whatsoever. But it feels like indie-cinema-by-focus-group; it's a Fox Searchlight product (see Little Miss Sunshine, Napoleon Dynamite, Sideways and their ilk) which aims to bring more left-field films to mainstream audiences, but in doing so redefines the precise location of left field. As was the case with 'indie music' after the global success of Nirvana and Radiohead, the critical goalposts aren't so much moved as chopped down for firewood. Which was lovely for a while, but led to all those skinny-trewed 'The' bands playing third on the bill at a festival near you this summer: what Tim Walker identifies as "landfill indie".
A purist argument would be, of course, that there are good films and bad films (records, books, etc) and the removal of any genre distinction is a good thing. Although, for someone to make the decision that this is a Fox Searchlight product, there must still be a mainstream for Juno to be outside. Even if only slightly outside, looking in, chucking out one-liners to a backing track of wry indie-folk.