Movie Review: Juno
Length: 96 minutes
Release date: December 25, 2007
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Genre: Comedy, Drama, and Romance
Stars: 4 out of 5
"Juno" starts with the unplanned pregnancy of Juno (Ellen Page), who has recently slept with her awkward and somewhat nerdy friend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). The smart-mouthed and sharp-witted Juno heads to an abortion clinic, but her classmate happens to be nearby and tries to talk her out of it. Out of all of the arguments, the fact that the baby could have fingernails by now is what changes her mind, and Juno decides to have the child and to give it to an adoptive couple. Juno finds someone to adopt her child by checking the "Penny-Saver." She then breaks the news to her mom and dad, who, although they are disappointed, support her decision. The couple she wants to use cannot have children of their own, and they are surprised at how easy Juno makes the adoption. Juno shares a few moments with the husband, Mark (Jason Bateman), playing some guitar riffs and talking about bands they enjoy together. After she decides the family is a good fit, the adoption papers are signed.
Although Juno is only 16 years old, the story follows her through a number of mature decisions that end up showing her internal character. Her main priority is finding a family that will be comfortable, supportive, and loving for her child. Although Paulie doesn't play too much of a role through most of the movie, it's clear by the end that Juno is in love with him and that he has been trying very hard to support all of her choices.
Many scenes in the movie show others being nasty or snarky about Juno's pregnancy. Although these scenes often bring out the best in the characters, such as when Juno's parents stand up for her or when she just turns the other cheek, the movie provides strong commentary about the way the world is today. Instead of being supportive about the pregnancy, many people, even the ultrasound technician, seem more concerned that the girl having the child is only 16. It shows how our society is less accepting of poor, or accidental, decisions, even though Juno has done what she can to provide her child with a loving and comfortable lifestyle after birth.
The overall tone of the movie is quite serious, even though it might seem to have some comedic moments throughout. The underlying messages of teenage pregnancy and the choices that have to be made, the husband's deception when he isn't ready to be a father, and the naïve nature of love are all very strong in this movie. There are moments when Paulie's attempts to be supportive go virtually unnoticed, which can make the audience feel bad for him, and there are times when Juno is completely naïve to the fact that the adoptive father of her child may be falling for her instead of nurturing his relationship with his wife.
The movie shows how strong and independent Juno is when she refuses to contact Paulie even though she is in labor. He is at a track meet, and instead of bothering him, Juno decides that she will go on her own and have her child. In some ways, that can pull on the heartstrings of the audience, because every birth should be supported by both parents whenever possible.
"Juno" is a witty and often humorous drama about teenage pregnancy and how it affects all people involved, from family members to those who want to adopt. The PG-13 rating is for language and sexual scenes, although the sex scene is mild.
Overall, this movie is a good movie for an afternoon with friends or family members, but it's not one that smaller children or most preteens will enjoy. The movie is a little bit gloomy and has a more serious atmosphere than comedic value, so that is something that audience members should consider before watching. Overall, Juno is a great movie to watch when you want a somewhat quirky take on a serious situation.
Watch the trailer for Juno here.