Guest Author - Caitlin D Neely
Juno (directed by Jason Reitman) is a sugary romantic teen comedy that also doubles as a coming of age story.
Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is a hip, quirky teenager that must learn to “deal with things way beyond her maturity level”. She becomes pregnant by her best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera) and enlists the help of her friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) to search for adoptive parents. They promptly find the seemingly “perfect” couple in the penny saver, Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner). Her father (J.K. Simmons) and stepmother (Allison Janney) are surprisingly (and a little unrealistically supportive.
As she navigates the world of teen pregnancy, she discovers that life does not always work out the way anyone plans it to.
The beginning lines from Rainn Wilson’s character are out of place in even Juno’s world. This is the only dialogue that seems grossly unrealistic. The rest of the dialogue can be described as eccentric and it is constantly referencing pop culture. Despite this it appears natural to me. The movie makes me accept that this is merely how Juno and her friends speak. This is nothing out of the ordinary in their world.
Page was terrific in her role. She was cynical, hilarious and relatable all at the same time. I honestly wish I viewed life in the way she does. It’s one of a kind and not to mention humorous. Cera is once again good at playing awkward. He always succeeds at doing this. His character gives off a quirky, nerdy vibe.
My favorite scenes include the chemistry lab and when Juno is trying to find a couple to adopt her baby. The writing by Diablo Cody and execution from Page, Cera and Thirlby is brilliant.
The indie soundtrack also meshes nicely with the movie. I get the sense that the songs were picked carefully. They add to the overall tone and mood of whatever scene they are in. “A Well Respected Man” by The Kinks is the perfect description of Cera’s character.
However, Juno does stray from reality when it shouldn’t Her parents barely protest when she announces she is pregnant. The adoptive parents are found in almost a moment’s notice and not much is said about her pregnancy at school. She is given looks but nothing else. While I’m not advocating the ostracization of a teenager, I think it’s unrealistic for no one in her school to make a negative comment about it.
Overall Juno will please anyone that is OK with the strange dialogue. I think it adds to the movie and makes it incredibly unique. But it also a major part of the movie and may turn some away. So be willing to suspend reality for a couple of hours because Juno’s world is similar to ours but also amazingly different.