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.