Movie Review – Juno

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Juno is a brilliantly made and highly entertaining film, and thoroughly deserves its 4 Oscar nominations.

Ellen Page is terrific as Juno McDuff, a fiesty 16 year-old who falls pregnant to the dorky Bleeker (Michael Cera). She decides to have the baby and put it up for adoption rather than take the seemingly easier abortion route taken by some of her high school peers.

Juno’s parents (played by JK Simmons and Allison Janney) are wonderfully idiosyncratic, and resignedly support Juno through her decision and subsequent search for a pair of appropriate adoptive parents for her child.

Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman play the adoptive parents-to-be, Vanessa and Mark, with warmth and sensitivity; Garner in particular is a revalation and her scene with Juno in a shopping mall is pure cinema magic. Go on, I dare you not to cry.

The script is quirky; at times humourous and at times touchingly sad.

Juno is a feel-good movie even though the underlying themes of teenage pregnancy and adult infertility are anything but the usual feel-good material. Some people will no doubt be critical of the shallow treatment given to the pro’s and con’s of Juno’s decision and the absence of any subsequent soul-searching on her behalf. Similarly, the lack of parental input into Juno’s life-defining decision is a little hard to swallow.

But there are plenty of movies out there exploring those type of themes in depth. Juno is what it is, and it does what it does brilliantly. And if the crowds of teenagers rustling their lolly wrappers in my ear throughout the movie are any indication, its target market thinks so too.

Bravo.

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6 Responses to Movie Review – Juno

  1. Brett says:

    Bruce – this is one of my 5 favorite films of 2007 (I think I saw in in 07). The casting was absolutely perfect!

  2. Karen says:

    Bruce,
    I couldn’t agree more with you about this film. I particularly like that it celebrates the quirkiness and individuality of both Juno and Bleeker, and shows the careful thought that Juno puts into having the baby adopted out. The other thing I loved was the way that Juno’s parents supported her – not fawning over her, but at the same time not villifying her for the pregnancy.
    I know the year is only young, but this is our top movie so far for 2008.

  3. clarkebruce says:

    The other thing that made me laugh was seeing JK Simmons in the role of the loving and caring parent. In my mind, he will always be the evil hardass Nazi prisoner from the TV show Oz.

  4. jeremy says:

    Yay, you liked Juno. Ok, I can continue reading your blog now 🙂

  5. patrick says:

    i assumed Juno was directed by the same guy that directed Knocked Up because it’s about an unexpected pregnancy, and Michael Cera stars as Juno’s boyfriend (he was one of the goofy kids from Superbad, a close relative of Knocked Up), but it turns out this is not the case

  6. pear says:

    Correct you are. Juno was directed by Jason Reitman (Thank You For Smoking).

    Knocked Up was directed by Judd Apatow, who also directed The 40 Year Old Virgin.

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