Life is hard enough being a teenager that telling a story about a pregnant one definitely ups the drama. But Juno isn’t a catiounary tale of the harsh realities of carrying a baby — it’s a story about the harsh realities of being human. Following Juno (Ellen Page) as she maneuvers through her high school halls and the doors that open and close — there’s an opportunity to view life from the eyes of someone who isn’t expected to know all the answers to life and love.
Weeks after having sex for her first time with her best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), Juno MacGuff finds she’s pregnant. An encounter at an abortion clinic makes her choose to give the baby up for adoption. Looking through ads in the classifieds, she finds a perfect-looking couple, Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner), who agree to cover all of Juno’s medical expenses. Things aren’t all they seem as the people in Juno’s life show that there are many sides to a person. Director Jason Reitman expertly keeps the movie from tipping too much towards the dramatic or comical as Juno finds that love can be, at once, so very simple and so very hard.
The soundtrack gives indie tunes the chance to narrate the story, and it works. There’s a refreshing lack of pretension and politics, and there are no calls for judgement. It’s a movie that doesn’t glamorize or make sweeping grand gestures. Though it’s simple, the writing is sharp, and Page expertly plays a character whose caustic personality is both endearing and a defense mechanism to protect her from reality. They say that sarcasm is the language of the week, and Juno proves to be a character who the weak can relate to — the weak being those who are alive and those who are trying.
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Written by: Diablo Cody
Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, and Jennifer Garner
Rating: 3.5 / 5