Juno
2007
Facing an unplanned pregnancy while she's still in high school, quirky teen Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) devises a plan to locate her unborn baby's perfect adoptive parents. But the seemingly ideal couple (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) Juno chooses still has some growing up to do. Michael Cera co-stars in this offbeat coming-of-age comedy with an Oscar-winning original screenplay penned by Diablo Cody.

Amy Austin: “It was ok.”

So I finally got around to seeing one the most hyped films of 2007, and I didn't hate it... but I didn't really love it, either.

In keeping with my usual "spoiler-free" movie MO, I managed to stay rather unaware of the plot & details of this film (except for the obvious issue of teen pregnancy and the usual trailer tidbits)... despite its Oscar status and a high profile that even staked a national news presence (albeit unintentionally, I'm sure) in one of the most disturbing stories of teen pregnancy of the decade (Teen ‘pregnancy pact’ has 17 girls expecting). Based on a quoted researcher's astute comment regarding this, however -- along with actually viewing the film -- I'd say that it was Juno itself that was unfairly tainted by the news story.

Contrary to the hypothesis of "the ‘Juno’-Jamie Lynn effect", I didn't see any particular "glamorization" of teen pregnancy going on in Juno. However, I did have an unshakable perception of mildly pro-life leanings under the slightly derisive (albeit humorous) overtones and commentary on women's health-care clinics... which only resulted in an annoying prolongation of and complete agreement with the feeling in Scott's description of the film's opening sequence: ...Rainn Wilson as a convenience store clerk using hipness to the point of nuisance, then dials down the ironic banter to a sustainable level for the remaining ninety minutes. I guess, for me, the "ironic banter" -- though funny -- was just slightly over "a sustainable level" for serious appreciation? The "hipness" becomes "tragically hip" and, dare I say it... a wee bit inauthentic. My overall feelings from the (slightly strained) dialogue were that a) Diablo Cody, while displaying a fine and unique talent for writing, must be a pistol with quite the colorful background and upbringing herself -- in fact, I'm betting that she was a handful of a teenager; and b) am I just getting "too old"??? Perish the thought.

Don't get me wrong, though... I did enjoy the film quite well, and I found Juno herself -- along with *all* of the characters, actually (and probably, most of all, J.K. Simmons as her dad and my particular standout/favorite among the supporting cast) -- to be quite likable. And like Scott, who ranked Juno as #6 of his "ten best" of 2007 (do I vaguely recall his naming 2007 a bit of a thin year?), I found the heart of the film to be in a young woman's poignant mini-revelations and first lessons in life and love. Underneath her precociously witty and modern teen exterior, Juno is really an ingenue. And underneath its tragically hip and modern take on teen pregnancy, Juno is really a sweet coming-of-age story.

− November 13, 2008 • more by Amylog in or create an account to reply

Amy Austin: Relevant comment from Oscar Season, authored by Scott:

Juno is terrific, but it might already be too late to see it. It's one of those very fragile movies that depends on the magic of discovery to create its mood, and if you see it after it's been declared Great or Important, that spell is broken. Think Lost in Translation or American Beauty. If you go, just try to enjoy it for what it is, and put the awards entirely out of your mind. − November 13, 2008 • more by Amy

Scott Hardie: All babies want to get borned! − November 14, 2008 • more by Scott

Amy Austin: Hahaha... yeah, that was just... weird. But funny... and kind of cute, too. ;-) I suppose there just may possibly exist such late-blooming teen innocence... but I also suppose that I really just may possibly be "too old" and/or jaded. Either way, she was definitely sweeter than boysenberry pie-scented junk. ;-D − November 14, 2008 • more by Amy

Aaron Shurtleff: Is there a movie that Ellen Page doesn't play the same kind of person in? It seems like every movie I see that she's in, she's this super smart-ass, witty, young-person-with-an-old soul type of person. Is it just me?

I enjoyed the movie, since it was one of my first Ellen Page movies (now I see her, and I just roll my eyes, because I know what's coming, really, character-wise). I don't know good from bad when it comes to movies, but I enjoyed this one. It was cute. :)

If you like Ellen Page, see Hard Candy. That's my shameless plug. − November 17, 2008 • more by Aaron

Amy Austin: An American Crime wasn't cute -- it was downright upsetting. She played a real person in a real story and was definitely not a smart-ass, though I'm sure that she was made old before her short 16 years (the character she portrayed that is... and probably her, too). − November 17, 2008 • more by Amy

Scott Hardie: X-Men: The Last Stand? Nobody in that film would be accused of being smart or witty. − November 17, 2008 • more by Scott

Aaron Shurtleff: Ooh. Forgot about that one! Good call. :) − November 17, 2008 • more by Aaron

Jackie Mason: Funny, I just watched X-Men three this morning. I had forgotten she was in that.

I think I ended up liking Juno though mostly for the reason that yes, she was a super smart ass handful of a girl, but you can see her innocence through it all. As smart as she comes off, she did have unprotected sex and get knocked up - dumb! She does get herself tangled up in that married man situation - dumb! As she's running away from their house crying, you see she's just a stupid kid who has to learn lessons the hard way, just like everybody else. And the tragically hip thing really ends up being portrayed as one of their weaknesses, just a cover for their insecurities. Especially the aging hipster guy who can't get over himself and his rock star dreams. So the movie ends with the characters humbled by their experiences. Especially Juno. − November 27, 2008 • more by Jackie

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Scott Hardie: “It ruled.”

Juno is one of those fragile little indie films that you have to see before the weight of its buzz makes it impossible to appreciate It navigates a risky minefield of indie quirk and arrives triumphantly at the other side, touching and terrific.

− April 7, 2009 • more by Scottlog in or create an account to reply

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