Elliot Page has been acting since age 10, and if there’s one thing we’ve learned across his impressive two-and-a-half decade filmography, it’s that he has the uncanny ability to embody whatever character he chooses.
From angsty teenager and vigilante to superhero and mutant, the Nova Scotia native has given us plenty of memorable performances. The eight movies and TV shows below showcase him at his best.
IMDb Rating: 8.8
Here, he played Ariadne, an architecture grad student who is recruited to help construct dreamscapes, known as mazes, using dream-sharing technology. Through them, Dom Cobb, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, infiltrates other people’s subconscious and steals information and ideas.
But this time, given an opportunity to erase his criminal past, Cobb hopes to attempt the opposite: planting a new idea into someone’s subconscious.
Page held his own amidst an all-star cast, which included Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, and Marion Cotillard. As a stand-in for the audience, Page’s Ariadne guides us as we learn more about how to map a dream but also how to defy it.
The film went on to win four Academy Awards for Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects and was nominated for four more. Page himself won the 2011 MTV Award for Best Scared-As-S**t Performance.
Where to watch Inception (2010): Netflix and HBO Max
The Umbrella Academy (2019-2023)
IMDb Rating: 7.9
Based on a comic book series of the same name by Gerard Way and Gabriel Bá, The Umbrella Academy is a superhero TV series created for Netflix by Steve Blackman and developed by Jeremy Slater.
In it, a group of former child superhero siblings, now grown up and grown apart, reunite upon the passing of their father, Sir Reginald Hargreeves. But when one time-traveling sibling reveals a threat of an imminent apocalypse, they also band together to save the world — and learn more about their father and each other along the way.
There is a lot to love about The Umbrella Academy, from its imaginative world to the rich inner lives and interpersonal tensions of its characters. But perhaps most special about the show is how it handled Page’s transition on and off screen.
We first meet Page’s character, Vanya Hargreeves, also known as Umbrella Number Seven. Vanya was a meek violinist who had been alienated from their siblings by Sir Reginald, who claimed that they had no supernatural abilities, but there’s more to Vanya than meets the eye.
Fast-forward to the third season, which premiered after Elliot publicly came out as a trans man and a time-traveling paradox throws the characters into an alternative universe, one in which Vanya is Viktor.
News of Page’s transition arrived soon after Season 3 scripts were finished, but series creator Blackman felt that it was important to collaborate with Page about Viktor’s transition on-screen. Page has expressed his gratitude to the show, the cast, and the production team for this.
“I felt so supported by everyone. We were shooting right after I disclosed that I’m trans, in total isolation. That was definitely an overwhelming period, but I feel so lucky that I was going to work and getting to be with so many supportive people,” he shared in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter.
“I’m so lucky to work with this cast. And in any moment that I did express fear and anxiety, I felt listened to and cared for. And obviously, that should be the case all the time, but we know how things are. So, it’s special.”
For his role in this Emmy Award-winning show, Page won the Best Supporting Actor prize at the 2022 Saturn Awards and was nominated for the Critics’ Choice Super Awards and the MTV Movie & TV Awards.
It’s a good time to start watching The Umbrella Academy, too, as Season 4 is in production and should premiere on Netflix in late 2023.
Where to watch The Umbrella Academy (2019-2023): Netflix
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
IMDb Rating: 7.9
Easily one of the best films of the X-Men franchise, X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) takes the best elements of the source material and gifts audiences with a 132-minute cinematic treat.
Elliot first joined the franchise as Kitty Pryde in 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), but few know that he almost didn’t. The Last Stand director Brett Ratner had to beg Page to read the script after they initially turned it down, explaining that he didn’t “want to do the Hollywood thing.”
Eventually, he did accept the role, albeit hesitantly, and in the end, it was down to the novelty of it. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he said, “I thought, well, when else am I going to have a chance to wear a leather suit and run through exploding things? Why not be a superhero for a change?”
Of course, Ratner turned out to be icky on set, and The Last Stand didn’t quite meet people’s expectations. But the one thing Ratner did do right was show Bryan Singer, director of Days of Future Past, how good Page was as Kitty Pryde. And so when it came to casting the 2014 hit, Singer didn’t think twice about asking Page to reprise his role.
This time around, Page shines with more screen time as Kitty sends Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to the past in a desperate effort to change the course of history and prevent a dystopian 2023.
Where to watch X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014): Disney+
IMDb Rating: 7.5
Jason Reitman’s Juno (2007) is Page’s breakthrough film, and it’s easy to see why.
In it, he plays Juno MacGuff, a rebellious yet charming 16-year-old faced with an unplanned pregnancy after she decides it’s time for her to experience sex and enlists her best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) to participate. After a trip to an abortion clinic, she decides to put her baby up for adoption instead, which leads her to meet Vanessa and Mark Loring (played by Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman).
Despite her sarcastic remarks and outward cynicism, we learn that Juno is also pretty idealistic, and Page’s earnest performance draws us into this coming-of-age film about big choices and the pressures of adult life.
Pulitzer Prize-winning film critic Roger Ebert sang praises for Page’s performance, writing, “Page’s presence and timing are extraordinary. I have seen [him] in only two films, [he] is only 20, and I think [he] will be one of the great actors of [his] time.”
The film went on to win an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay, while Page himself was nominated for Best Actress. He also garnered acting honors from the Independent Spirit Awards and critics associations across Northern America.
Where to watch Juno (2007): HBO Max
Tales of the City (2019)
IMDb Rating: 7.4
Inspired by Armistead Maupin’s novels and developed by Lauren Morelli, Tales of the City is a Netflix mini-series that begins a new chapter in the beloved story.
The books were previously adapted for the small screen in 1993’s Tales of the City, 1998’s More Tales of the City and 2001’s Further Tales of the City. Laura Linney, Paul Gross, Olympia Dukakis, and Barbara Garrick, all of whom starred in these previous adaptations, reprised their roles for the 2019 production, which was also Dukakis’ final TV role before she passed away.
In the show, a middle-aged Mary Ann (played by Linney) returns to San Francisco after a 23-year absence. There, she celebrates the 90th birthday of her former landlady, Anna Madrigal (Dukakis), and reunites with her old friends. But she must also come face-to-face with her ex-husband Brian (Paul Gross) and the daughter she left behind, Shawna (Page).
The series explores the lives of the people who live in Madrigal’s apartment complex, with Page’s Shawna learning more about herself and entering into a romance with documentarian Claire (Zosia Mamet), who teaches her about San Francisco’s rich LGBTQ+ history.
The show went on to win the GLAAD Media Award for Outstanding Limited Series.
Where to watch Tales of the City (2019): Netflix
Hard Candy (2005)
IMDb Rating: 7.0
David Slade’s 2005 psychological thriller Hard Candy is not an easy film to watch.
Its opening act, where 32-year-old photographer Jeff (Patrick Wilson) and 14-year-old Hayley (Page) take their flirty relationship from a chat website to a real-life cafe, is creepy enough. But then, the pair arrange for an impromptu fashion shoot at Jeff’s home studio. Jeff thinks it’s his lucky night, and as a woman, I wanted to scream at the screen.
Elliot’s Hayley is a picture of charm and innocence — that is until she isn’t. We soon learn that she’s on a mission to expose and torture a child predator, and the ruthlessness with which she carries out her plan stays with you long after the film ends.
Page is brilliant and chilling in this film, which critics consider his artistic breakthrough performance two years before his mainstream breakthrough with Juno.
Hard Candy went on to win multiple awards at the Sitges Film Festival and the Málaga Film Festival and received the Overlooked Film of the Year nod at the 2006 Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards. Meanwhile, Page won the Best Actress award at the Austin Film Critics Association Awards.
Where to watch Hard Candy (2005): The Roku Channel, Vudu, and Tubi TV
Whip It (2009)
IMDb Rating: 6.9
Tropey in all the best ways, Whip It (2009) is Drew Barrymore’s directorial debut. A little-known gem of a coming-of-age film, it is based on screenwriter Shauna Cross’ 2007 novel Derby Girl.
In it, Page stars as Bliss, a Texan teen who trades her small-town pageant crown for roller skates. She dives into the world of roller derby and takes on the name Babe Ruthless to join Maggie Mayhem (Kristen Wiig), Bloody Holly (Zoë Bell), Rosa Sparks (Eve Jihan Cooper), and Smashley Simpson (Barrymore) in a badass team of shoving, kicking, and rolling women.
Through all the bruising excitement, Bliss finds that she might finally belong somewhere. She’s just not sure how long she can hide it from her mother.
Sure, as the audience, you’d know where the story is going to go within the movie’s first five minutes, but watching it get there is a pretty entertaining experience. Overall, Whip It is a charming, feel-good flick about finding your footing in life, and Page does a great job of making us enjoy it.
Where to watch Whip It (2009): HBO Max
IMDb Rating: 6.7
In Sian Heder’s Tallulah (2016), Page reunites with Juno co-star Allison Janney — except this time, his eponymous character isn’t giving up her kid to someone else; she is taking someone else’s child as her own.
In the film, Tallulah is a homeless teenager living out of a van with her boyfriend Nico (Evan Jonigkeit). But they’re at a crossroads: Nico wants to reconnect with his estranged mother, while Tallulah doesn’t want to change their lifestyle. One day, she is devastated to find that Nico had left her. She drives to New York to look for him at his mother Margo’s house (Janney), but is turned away. There’s nowhere else for her to go.
While looking to steal food from guests at a hotel, Tallulah runs into Carolyn (Tammy Blanchard), who mistakes her for housekeeping. In the hotel room with Carolyn is her young child, Maddy, whom she doesn’t seem to know how to care for. When Carolyn passes out, Tallulah finds herself unable to leave a crying Maddy behind and impulsively decides to “rescue” her.
But Tallulah is still a child herself, and she soon finds that, once again, there is nowhere for her and Maddy to go. She decides to take her to Margo’s, claiming that she is Nico’s child.
Heder’s family drama is a thoughtfully crafted story about motherhood, abandonment, and belonging. There’s also a lot more shared screen time in this film for Page and Janney, whose performances are outstanding, and the film is all the more absorbing for it.
Where to watch Tallulah (2016): Netflix