JUNO (2007) 

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Ellen Page
Michael Cera
Jennifer Garner
Jason Bateman
Allison Janney
J.K. Simmons
Olivia Thirlby
Rainn Wilson
Daniel Clark

Jason Reitman




Time: 96 mins.
Rating: PG-13
Genre: Drama/Comedy

Won Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay. Nominated for Best Screenplay, Best Actress (Page) and Best Picture.

SYNOPSIS: Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, an offbeat young woman makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

BOTTOM LINE: I rarely see movies in the theater these days, but the reviews and buzz about this film was too great for me to ignore. It's not only astonishing that this film actually got made and released, but that it's as good as it is. Teen pregnancy is usually relegated to Lifetime or Oxygen Movies of the Week, but screenwriter Diablo Cody brings humor and heartbreak to this timeless topic in such a fresh and engaging way that you can't help but fall in love with Juno. Clearly, Ellen Page's pitch perfect performance as the teen whose spontaneous decision out of curiosity and boredom to lose her virginity to her best friend changes her life perspective forever. Though Juno eventually decides to have the baby and put it up for private adoption, all her choices are weighed with equal measure, the film treading a very delicate line that never feels forced.

Juno's attitude is somewhat snarky about her condition, but the film treats her situation with seriousness, showing the implications it has on all her relationships and her reputation at large. The bigger she gets the more desperate she becomes for this horrible event to have a happy conclusion. While the film has it's funny moments and her dialogue is cracking with wit and slang, it's the quiet moments with the people who care about her that make this something special. I initially thought her parents were a bit too understanding, but then realized they don't really have much of a choice. Yelling at her isn't going to make her any less pregnant. All they can do is stand by her decisions, which continue to fluctuate, just like most teens, between those that are good for her and those that just cause more trouble.

"I'm already pregnant, so what other kind of shenanigans could I get into?"

She tries to convince herself the sex with Bleeker, played sweetly by Cera, was just a casual, one-time thing, yet it's clear as the film goes on that her feelings for him were always something deeper than mere friendship. It only took becoming pregnant with his baby for her to realize them. One can hardly blame Bleeker for going along for the ride (though they keep his contribution a secret from his parents). Not only is a teeange boy never going to turn down sex, but every fiber of his being screams his love for Juno. How they come to grips with the change in their friendship is both honestly derived and truly heartfelt. Their connection is at the heart of this piece and it's palpable.

Jennifer Garner is the other cast standout as the woman whose dream of motherhood is finally within her grasp...and dependent on the whims of a quirky teenager. Her desperation is carefully controlled but painfully apparent and you want more than anything for everything to turn out perfectly for her. Things don't exactly end as she planned but the final act is a satisfying and realistic one. Again, Diablo Cody gets the emotions and consequences of these major life changes just right. JUNO is an intense, intelligent and humorous look at this all too common occurance and should be used by all parents as a form of birth control. Juno may be cool, but her situation clearly isn't and that's a message all girls need to hear. While I'm sure that wasn't Diablo Cody's intention, this is the perfect example of how one bad decision can change the course of your future in profoundly difficult ways.

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