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Juno

A movie directed by Jason Reitman

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She's Having a Baby

  • Dec 28, 2007
  • by
Rating:
+4
Of all the offbeat, heartwarming dramatic comedies of recent memory, Jason Reitman's "Juno" is definitely one of the better ones. It tells the story of an independent teenage girl who finds herself faced with an unplanned pregnancy: a realistic scenario, no question, and for some, it's even relatable. Ellen Page--whose performance in 2005's "Hard Candy" scared the living hell out of me--plays the title character, utilizing an entirely different but equally effective emotional range. Sixteen-year-old Juno MacGuff is a lively yet misunderstood young woman, always making wry comments on everything and everyone. Some of her comments are downright inappropriate. You wouldn't expect a girl like this to be foolish and have unprotected sex, but as she says later on, "I don't know what kind of girl I am."

The baby's father is her best friend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), a quiet, lanky teen who loves Tic Tacs and has a passion for running. One gets the sense that he doesn't actually say most of what he's thinking; when Juno tells him that she's pregnant because of that one night, all he can think to say is, "Whose idea was it?" In Juno's eyes, he's just about the coolest guy on the planet. But she knows that he's not ready to be a parent, and as it turns out, neither is she. This is probably why they both agree that an abortion is the best idea. Of course, Juno is unable to go through with it by the time she reaches the clinic; she said that it smelled like a dentist's office, and she couldn't stand the girl at the help desk (a goth-type who offers her a boysenberry-scented condom). With abortion no longer an option, she settles on giving the baby up for adoption.

And as it happens, an ad in the Pennysaver shows a black and white photo of a couple looking to adopt. Here enter Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa Loring (Jennifer Garner), who live in an upscale gated community. As is the case with a lot of couples, their attempts to conceive have been unsuccessful; Jennifer is desperate to be a mother, and Mark seems ready and willing to be a father. When Juno enters their lives, they agree on a closed-door policy, meaning that Juno wants absolutely nothing to do with the baby after it's born: she doesn't want the Lorings to keep in touch with her or to send her updates. With everything seemingly set in stone, the papers are signed and the deals are made.

Things start to change when Juno has her first ultrasound. She immediately drives back to the Lorings' home, hoping to show them a picture of their unborn baby. Because only Mark is home, an unlikely friendship is kick started: they have the same tastes in music (although they disagree about the best year for punk rock--Mark says 1992 while Juno says 1977); they both play electric guitars, Juno having been part of a band and Mark being an advertisement composer; they both love excessively gory horror films, and Mark convinces Juno that the films of Dario Argento are tame compared to the films of Herschell Gordon Lewis. All this seems innocent enough, but don't you already get the sense that something inappropriate is going on here? Not inappropriate in the sexual sense, but definitely in the sense that neither Juno nor Mark are setting up boundaries. He will, after all, be parenting her child; forming a friendship will probably do more harm than good.

And consider a moment when Juno and her girlfriend are at the mall: Juno sees Vanessa in the kids' area, energetically playing with one of her friend's young children. This makes Juno smile, because it's clear that Vanessa is serious about wanting to be a mother. The same can't be said for Mark, who may not, in fact, be ready to go through with an adoption. Keep in mind that he and Juno never speak about the baby or even parenthood during one of her visits; all their conversations focus on personal interests, and as we all know, personal interests have absolutely no place in the life of a parent. This eventually begins to bring Juno down, threatening to destroy her already limited faith in humanity.

All this affects her relationship with Paulie, who doesn't understand what it's like to be a pregnant high school student. Not only does everyone clear away from her as she walks down the hall, they also stare uncontrollably at her swelling stomach. Nevertheless, she begins to suspect that her feelings for Paulie may run deeper than she first thought, which forces her to put her life into perspective: while she may not always get along with her father (J.K. Simmons) and stepmother (Allison Janney), and while home may sometimes get hectic, the reality is that it's still home, and as the saying goes, home is where the heart is.

What exactly would a film like this have to offer the everyday person? I questioned that many times as I watched, and my initial conclusion was, "Not a heck of a lot." This is, after all, an oddball film about an oddball character in an oddball situation. But as I left the theater and began the drive home, my thoughts gradually shifted, and I began to realize that this film offers quite a lot. It cleverly shows that life is always in a state of flux, and no matter what we do to prepare, some unexpected things will happen. Granted, this is not a new idea, but considering how well made this film is--how relatable the characters are (if a little strange) and how nicely the story unfolds--it doesn't really matter.

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More Juno reviews
review by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Juno consists of equal portions of hilarity and compassion, satire and seriousness. It brings together very different genres and showcases that they can coexist without becoming overdone or ridiculous.      This movie tells the endearing story of Juno MacGuff, an offbeat 16 year old who must face the trying reality of being pregnant. Armed with the support of her preppy friend Leah, overwhelmed by parents Bren and Mac, and by best friend/ father of the baby, Paulie, she decides …
review by . July 27, 2010
   If you like Michael Cera and the Gilmore Girls you'll love this. Ellen Page's dialogue is fast-paced, unrealistic and annoying, Michael Cera is well.... Michael Cera which worked in Arrested Development and kind of in the steam pile that was SuperBad and that's about it.      (Spoilers, or saving you 90 minutes below depending on your outlook)         The movie is about an awkward teen (Cera) who knocks up one of those girls …
Quick Tip by . July 28, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Overall very good. Ellen page is amazing. Script is good, funny and quirky.
Quick Tip by . July 26, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
The movie is great because it is just a story without trying to be a morality piece. It's funny but it still pushes buttons. The writing is quality and the soundtrack is awesome.
Quick Tip by . July 21, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Ellen Paige gives an amazing performance. The plot is decent but the movie is over hyped
Quick Tip by . July 20, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I will never understand the hype this movie got while in theaters; it was a well-written movie but very slow and most parts. Ellen Page was charming.
Quick Tip by . July 19, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
I did not understand the big buzz on this film and I still dont
Quick Tip by . July 18, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
This movie related to me very well because I had a child young but I choose to keep mine. I think this is a great movie to show young women I feel.
Quick Tip by . July 13, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Way to go, Juno! You, too, Ellen. And Michael. And Diablo...
Quick Tip by . July 12, 2010
posted in Movie Hype
Page's performance as well as the rest of the cast was very strong in this dark comedy about relationships, marriage, and teen pregnancy.
About the reviewer
Chris Pandolfi ()
Ranked #5
Growing up a shy kid in a quiet suburb of Los Angeles, Chris Pandolfi knows all about the imagination. Pretend games were always the most fun for him, especially on the school playground; he and his … more
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Wiki

Juno, a 2007 Academy Award winning comedy drama, tells the story of of an awkward high schooler Juno who becomes pregnant.  Upon her decision to keep the baby, she decides to give the baby up for adoption to a couple Vanessa and Mark.  Juno's relationship with the father of the baby (Paulie), Mark and Vanessa is focused on.

Directed by Jason Reitman, Juno is the story of pregnant teenager June (Ellen Page). The father is her passive high school friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). She decides to give the baby up for closed adoption to an affluent childless couple, Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa (Jennifer Garner). When Paulie asks another girl to the prom, Juno and he quarrel and they eventually come to realize they are in love with each other. Juno gives the baby up to Vanessa (Mark has split by this time), and Juno and Paulie become a regular teenage couple.

Somewhere between the sharp satire ofElectionand the rich human comedy ofYou Can Count On MeliesJuno, a sardonic but ultimately compassionate story of a pregnant teenage girl who wants to give her baby up for adoption. Social misfit Juno (Ellen Page,Hard Candy,X-Men: The Last Stand) protects herself with a caustic wit, but when she gets pregnant by her friend Paulie (Michael Cera,Superbad), Juno finds herself unwilling to terminate the pregnancy. When she chooses a couple who place a classified ad looking to adopt, Juno gets drawn further into their lives than she anticipated. ButJunois much more than...
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Details

Director: Jason Reitman
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: December 25, 2007
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Screen Writer: Diablo Cody
DVD Release Date: April 15, 2008
Runtime: 1hr 36min
Studio: 20th Century Fox
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