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Juno

A movie directed by Jason Reitman

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Tackling Teen Pregnancy With Humor And Care

  • Feb 10, 2009
  • by
Rating:
+3
Writer Diablo Cody has managed to take a very serious topic, teen pregnancy, and successfully blend it with humor, innocence and a bit of fear to make a wonderful film: "Juno."

Some believe that this film champions the ideals of the pro-choice crowd. Others see it as a movie that highlights the positive aspects of choosing life instead of abortion. What I see is a film about a young girl who is attempting to rationalize the severity of her situation with a mind that is still in its formative years.

Ellen Page stars as Juno McGuff, a teen who has just found out that she is pregnant for her good friend, Bleeker (Michael Cera). On a whim (at least as Juno sees it), the pair have sex and now they have to deal with its consequences. Instead of that happening, though, Juno pretty much keeps Bleeker in the dark about the entire situation. He approaches the situation with confusion and innocence. She tries to work through it with sarcasm and wit.

Eventually, Juno finds an adoptive family for her child through the Penny Saver paper. Enter Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), a couple looking for their first child after many failed attempts. Vanessa is hungry to be a mother while Mark is a little hesitant about becoming a dad.

Once the legalities of the adoption are set, the rest of the film follows Juno through the ups and downs of being a pregnant teen and how her relationships with others are affected. She deals with being stared at by classmates and sneered at by school staff. Her relationship with Bleeker takes a few detours. She bonds with Mark through music and with Vanessa through motherhood. She also strengthens the bond with her father and step mother. A twist is thrown late in the film to add a little drama to the story, but it fits perfectly.

What you have in the end is a film that deals with teen pregnancy with well-placed humor and just the right amount of tenderness. The cast, for the most part, is brilliant. J.K. Simmons as Juno's father does a brilliant job. He perfectly evokes a father's disappointment, confusion, fear and eventual pride and joy for his daughter. Allison Janney plays Juno's step mother. She shows how much a person tries to make a connection with their step child by protecting Juno. Page can be a bit over-the-top at times, but she does a solid enough job to never make me lose interest in her character. Cera does an excellent job of showing the uncertainty in Bleeker. His character develops wonderfully as the story goes along. Bateman turns in an impressive performance as Mark, a man approaching middle-age and still hanging on to the past. While Garner does a fine job as Vanessa, I felt at times that she was pushing the emotional envelope a bit too much. Her character seems to have this picture perfect (and somewhat Utopian)idea of what it's like to be a mother, but she also shows emotions that I find would be more likely to be found in a woman who is actually pregnant. Still, this is the only shortfall in the cast and is forgivable thanks to the overall strength of the rest of the cast and the film as a whole.

I must point out that the music is pretty good, but a few of the songs rake the nerves. If you like your music with a bit of a folk tinge to it or happen to be a regular listener of NPR, you'll probably love the soundtrack. If your tastes require a bit more punch, you might be turned off by the film's music.

There is a bit of strong language in the film, but nothing that your average child over the age of ten doesn't hear in the store every day. The sexuality in the movie is dealt with briefly and with humorous teen confusion, and there is no nudity. On a positive note, Juno's family has a strong bond, which is especially important in dealing with a teen pregnancy. Her father and step mother give her strong support throughout the film.

If you're looking for a light comedy/drama that deals with a very heavy subject, I highly recommend "Juno." I initially thought that this film would be a bust considering the heavy hype it received during its theatrical release, but it has turned me into a believer. "Juno" is an excellent film.

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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
Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #17
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … 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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