Delta Films Movie Reviews
Review - " Juno " (in theatres) - By Roland Hansen
Juno - a Fox Searchlight Pictures production, starring Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, J.K. Simmons &
Allison Janney. Written by Diablo Cody, Directed by Jason Reitman. Rated PG-13
“It all started with a chair.”
The film's early scenes play on the idea that teenagers these days have become quite casual about sexual matters - Juno's cheerleader
friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) offers to call the abortion clinic for her, just like she did for one of their friends - but things take an unexpected
turn when Juno shows up at the clinic itself. Standing outside is a classmate named Sue-Chin (Valerie Tian), who holds a pro-life placard
and chants, dully and grammatically incorrectly, "All babies want to get borned!" The abortion clinic is portrayed as an uncomfortable and
impersonal place thus helping convince Juno to carry her baby to term - a decision that becomes the first step on a humorous, confusing,
and ultimately moving path towards Juno's greater maturity. Juno recognizes, however, that she is not ready to raise the child, so she
looks in the classifieds for a couple that wants to adopt, and she finds one in the stereotypically middle-class yuppies Mark and Vanessa
Loring. But there are hints that the Lorings might not be on quite the same page. Vanessa desperately wants a child, but Mark doesn't
seem to share her enthusiasm. And when Juno discovers that Mark is a musician too, he strikes up a friendship with her that threatens to
cross a boundary or two.
Juno MacGuff is a tiny force of nature. An intelligent, articulate, teenager with a sardonic wit who seemingly has a ready wisecrack for
every occasion that might arise in her small Minnesota town. But her bravada masks deeper emotions. The film goes beneath the hipster
surface and gives many of its characters an extra dimension that goes beyond Juno's perception of them. This film empathizes with all of
its main characters.
Vanessa, for example, seems rather uptight when we first meet her, with her perfect makeup, perfect house, perfect outfit, in short perfect
life, so much so that you wonder if you would really want to give your child to her. But later on, Juno bumps into Vanessa at a shopping
mall and sees beneath Vanessa’s perfect yuppie exterior while watching her play with a friend’s young daughter at the mall play area. In
one of the movie's most beautiful scenes (Garner is touchingly awkward in it),Juno encourages Vanessa to talk to the baby in her belly.
There is a genuine, sympathetic suspense as we wait to see whether the baby will kick and, in some sense, begin to bond with its would-
be future adoptive mother.
On the flip side, we can also appreciate that Mark, who used to play in a rock and roll band before he turned to writing commercial jingles,
feels confined by Vanessa's need to form a perfect suburban family. His music, his comics, and his horror movies are all confined to a
single room while Vanessa seeks his opinion on which nearly identical shade of yellow to color the baby's room. Mark feels trapped by
yuppiedom and yearns for his lost youth. He sees a kindred spirit in Juno, they share much of the same tastes and passions. There is a
very sweet scene in which Mark and Juno dance that you begin to wonder if they are going to “cross the line”.
“Juno" sounds much like a typical teenage movie, but it totally transcends the genre in many ways. For starters, there's Juno's complex
relationship with the adoptive parents, which plays out in surprising ways. As Juno's father, J.K. Simmons lets the love and concern he
has for his daughter show through his usual gruff exterior. And as Juno's stepmother, Alison has moments of genuine warmth and
compassion. Remarkably, while the film is clearly told from Juno's point of view the film is smart enough and broad-minded enough to
recognize that Juno really is a naïve child in some ways. Even Juno realizes that she has to deal with things "way beyond her maturity
“Juno" is funny, charming, honest and terrifically acted. I highly recommend “Juno” to anyone who enjoys intelligent comedy.
February 12, 2008
Plot Synopsis: Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is a 16 year old high school student and
unexpectedly pregnant after a one night stand with her best friend, Paulie Bleeker
(played by Superbad’s, Michael Cera). Juno decides against an abortion and chooses to
give the baby up for adoption. She finds prospective parents, Mark and Vanessa Loring
(played by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) in the “Pennysaver” a local want-ad
I have seen “Juno” three times in the theater and have loved it more each and every
“Juno” is brilliantly directed by Jason Reitman, whose last film was the humorously
scathing satire “Thank You For Smoking”. The new film is even better than his previous
Ellen Page first came to my notice in the little seen and disturbingly dark thriller “Hard
Candy”. In ”Juno” she plays the titular role of Juno MacGuff. She gives a magnificently
nuanced and incredibly sarcastic performance.