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When I decided to watch Juno the only thing I knew about the film was that it had something to do with a teenage pregnancy and had won awards for being a unique film.
The film is based in the U.S. and follows a teenage girl named Juno MacGuff who is dating a clueless boy named Paulie Bleeker. They are in many ways typical teenagers, pondering life, the universe and love, rife with angst, and at the opening of the film we learn that they have consummated their relationship and are both feeling strange about it. In fact, all the teenage characters in this film seem ridden with angst, which you might think an unfair stereotype before you see how artistically and honestly they are represented to the viewer.
Juno has a brash, sarcastic sense of humour that verges on bitterness but is saved by her seeming innocence and acceptance of the world for what it is. When she learns she is pregnant she intends to visit an abortion clinic but is put off by a school friend telling her that her baby has fingernails. It is expertly done, somehow touching on humour despite being such a serious issue in real life, and I found myself laughing at what I would otherwise consider to be a very grim issue.
Juno decides to do a good deed and have the baby, then put it up for adoption. The way she decides this seems naive and brash but she has clearly thought it through in her own way and you have to give her credit for that. She is a character who wins the viewer over. A comical scene follows where she tells her parents her plan, which would seem unrealistic if, again, it wasn't so expertly delivered. These are believable characters plagued by their own misgivings in life, but they get on with it and take things in their stride. In truth I found it refreshing to watch a film about a teenage pregnancy that didn't spiral into the politics of it all; the Daily Mail sensationalism or the drama you might associate with it in real life. Her family members are understandably baffled, but also supportive. Not that people haven't brought politics into the discussion about the film, but the film itself remains blissfully exempt from moral weights and endless debates.
Juno finds a couple advertising in the paper for a baby, which you might expect to be a callous thing but again Juno deals with it all so maturely and intelligently that it's hard to deny that she knowms her own mind and has a right to make her own decisions. Furthermore she is putting herself through a pregnancy to give the baby to a woman who desperately wants a child but can't have one herself, whose need is clear. As someone who knows what it is like to be broody and potentially unable to conceive, I really felt for this woman and connected with what Juno was doing for her, although there are clear reasons given in the film to doubt whether Juno will actually cope with giving up her baby to someone else, and whether she will be able to do it.
Never in my experience have the topics of having a surrogate baby or a teen pregnancy been dealt with so beautifully and honestly as in this film. I say honestly because the characters are real, their circumstances are not exceptional, and there is no huge drama or hysteria in the film as you might expect when dealing with surrogacy and teenage pregnancy together.
Some people might assume that the film encourages teenagers to have babies, but it does nothing of the sort. The problems Juno faces are obvious and not everyone could deal with them the way she does, and it's hard to deny her maturity. Certainly plenty of less mature adults have babies. All this is clear without being discussed in the film, by the fact that nothing is ever simple in this film. Everything is complex. Hence our thoughts about life's most serious matters are contrasted with Juno's apparent incomprehension of them; we never forget that she is only just out of her childhood and superbly naive, yet she also has a gritty realism in her world-view which I have come across in many teenagers myself, and we have to accept this.
Juno is also very witty and her accent has just the right amount of drawl in it for us to accept her dark humour rather than question it. The soundtrack that graces the film is beautiful at matching the funny but intelligent scenes; it mostly consists of indie-style tracks that a teenager or young person might listen to, which again contrasts with the heavy subject matter.
There are many other questions raised by this film, such as the suitability of the couple who want the baby, which leads us to question why we question this at all; surely we wouldn't if they were naturally having a baby, but with surrogacy these questions tend to seep in. I found myself questioning myself and my thoughts about the subject matter throughout the film, and that was refreshing. I also felt compelled to accept the entire storyline at face-value, because the subject matter is rarely covered so well and with such grace.
I love the way Juno deals with her pregnancy, the reactions for her peers, the fact that she is a teenager, the way the world turns and her love/obsession of music that only makes her character more incredulous to behold. Her relationship with the clueless but incredibly sweet Paulie Bleeker is also fraught with complications and hints at a romance that we don't get to see fully in this film.
Juno's character is played by Ellen Page and this was her debut film. Page's portrayal of an angst-ridden teenager is superbly convincing and touching, and as a result she has made me a fan of her acting forever. I look forward to seeing her career develop over time.
As you might have surmised from my review, I give this film 5 out of 5 and recommend it to everyone.. You might be surprised at your own reactions to Juno, and also what you might learn by watching it.
I was quite looking forward to this being a fan of Ellen Page, despite not remembering seeing any advertising for it at the cinema. I came across it browsing online and decided to give it a go; it's not the best in terms of a quirky comedy, but it was still enjoyable enough for easy viewing on a lazy film night in.
Juno was directed by Jason Reitman (who has worked on a few things such as Thank You For Smoking, which I quite liked, and more rencelty Up In The Air). We're introduced to the protagonist Juno (Page), a 16 year old high school girl from Minnesota. In autumn she discovers she's pregnant, an unplanned pregnancy that seems to have resulted from a one-off with her friend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). Faced with a tough decision whilst sat waiting for an abortion, the outwardly independent and out-spoken teen opts instead to have the baby. Rather than keep it, however, she decides to put it up for adoption once it's born so she seeks out a nice-looking, friendly couple in the ads section, lets her parents know what's going on, and carries on with high school as usual.
Except it's far from usual. As the seasons go from autumn to winter to spring, the bump gets bigger, she's closer to being a mum and Bleeker is closer to being the unwanted father. Biologically speaking anyway, seeings as Juno has decided not to keep the baby. The happy couple perhaps aren't as perfect parent material as Juno had hoped, and the relationship between them and the mum-to-be becomes strained, pushed to the limits to the point where the question is whether the adoption plan will work out. Can Juno, and Bleeker, give away this baby? Can the new parents to be work out their issues and take on this responsibility?
What I liked about this was its quirky sense of analysing the situation. Many young girls go through similar situations of making such a choice, but rarely are the implications considered. I liked getting to see the new parents, who initially seem like great candidates. The woman is up-tight and almost neurotic, but smiley, whilst the guy on the other hand is laid back and perhaps a little too 'cool' for his own good. The relationship between them and Juno is interesting in itself because again, it's something that's not often considered or explored. It's done in a blunt way, making light of what is a tricky situation but in a way that is entertaining rather than insulting or offensive, I think.
The cast was strong, with other members including Jason Bateman (Mark Loring, aka new dad to be), J.K. Simmons (Bren MacGuff, Juno's dad), Allison Janney (Bren MacGuff, the mom) and Jennifer Garner (Vanessa Loring, aka new mum to be) amongst others. The famous faces add some sense of credibility to the film without making it too Hollywood OTT. It's good to have a cast that gives life to the characters in a believable, yet light hearted way. It's a tricky subject, and one that, given the 9 month time frame, could have been quite boring. I thought it portrayed it quite well, though this was largely helped by Page. She does the quirky and confident, yet childlike and vulnerable inside, very well. She and Cera make the film easier to identify with, more watchable and more relaxed.
This is quite a compassionate tale of motherhood because it doesn't get too soppy. We can see that Juno is becoming more entwined with the new parents-to-be's lives more than she perhaps should, that's she crossing in to the danger zone when she'll soon have to hand her child over, but it's not too 'in-your-face'. It's done quite naturally, like a gradual progression that we're warmed in to, and this helps the film to flow well.
There's wit and sarcasm included in the sharp script, which makes the overall topic easier to digest and gives a different perspective on it. Given this, and the cast (such as Page and Cera), I thought it may have come across as quite offensive or too careless, yet it strangely has warm undertones that make it compelling without you really noticing.
The premise is fairly basic and there's nothing complex to have to get to grips with. But it's the simplicity and humorous edge within this heart-wrenching subject matter that makes Juno a compassionate tale. Page easily carries it though and makes it watchable; it may not have all the action and humour and intellect it could have had, but given the nature of the film, I'd say it did a pretty good job of enveloping the viewer. I enjoyed watching it and found it easy to do so, so it is one I'd recommend, even for Page's effortless portrayal of Juno alone.
DVD released June 2008, rated Certificate 15, running time 92 minutes.
Selling on Amazon for £2.99
This film is called 'Juno' and it came out in 2007. I got given this film by a friend, when I saw the trailer it didnt really interest me. I watched it and actually really enjoyed it. I thought this was a teen film but actually its really grown up. This film is a chick flick/romantic comedy.
The movie is about a girl called Juno (played by Ellen Page) who decides to have sex with a close friend called Paulie (played by Michael Cera). Unplanned, she ends up pregnent. She then decides to have an abortion but doesnt go through with it. So after that she decides to go down the 'adoption' route. She finds a wonderful couple but things end up a bit more complicated.
Ellen Page and Micheal Cera play really great characters. They complete make you believe. You can see the connection between them. I personally dont think this film was boring, it was gripping and kept you holding on. This film can be quite a sad film.
My favourite bit is the end just after she has her baby, when Juno and Paulie are lying on the bed. Its really emotional and every time I watch it I end up sobbing my eyes out.
"I mean, I'm already pregnant, so what other kind of shenanigans could I get into?" Said by Juno
I've already watched this film many times and would definitely watch it again. I would recommend it to any girl who likes a good rom com. This film is cheap so buy it and watch it and love it!!! I really enjoyed this.
I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I first decided to watch this film. I mainly did it to spend some time with some friends, but I'm so glad that I had the chance to enjoy this film.
Juno is a smart, witty, and extremely well-written film. For an independent film, the acting is simply superb. The story examines what has become the modern fairy tale in America: the pregnant teen mother who must decide what to do with her child.
Despite the controversial topic, I found the film to be enlightening. It's a topic that people should become educated about, and Diablo Cody's brilliant writing and witty humor allows audiences to familiarize themselves with this kind of story.
Ellen Paige tells the brilliant story of a young girl named Juno through her Oscar-nominated performance. Her cast-mates are also great including Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman.
Finally, the cherry on top of the sundae that is this film is the soundtrack. If you're a fan of independent music and the independent spirit in art, you will love this film. While the acting, writing, and directing are spectacular, the film would be nothing without its wonderfully constructed soundtrack. It really shows that our lives seem better when you put music to them, and you allow the power of music to instill in you and become part of your story.
Overall, this is a great film, and if you enjoy great independent films, you will certainly be a fan of this film. It is truly the mold for how great an independent film can really be.
You can't question the mature approach this film has to a topic such as an unwanted teenage pregnancy. But what it doesn't do in its portrayal of the 9 months following the titular character's lost virginity with best friend Bleeker is preach. Director Jason Reitman gives us a mature tale, and makes sure that above all else the focus is on the fact that despite the pregnancy, Juno is still very much a juvenile girl.
When Juno (Ellen Page) and best friend Bleeker (Michael Cera) give in to curiosity and have sex with each other, both losing their virginity, they never thought that Juno would end up pregnant. The film then takes us through various stages as Juno realises she can't go through with an abortion but doesn't want to keep the baby. Rich married couple the Lorings (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) cannot conceive, and are looking to adopt - everything seems to fit perfectly.
Of course, what no one had banked on was that it wasn't going to be all plain sailing. At first, we get to see the stark naivety gives Juno, seeing her very much as the quirky teen with a quick mouth. She is very blase about everything, and it's down to her father (JK Simmons) and stepmother (Alison Janney) to reign her in and try and impose some of the seriousness that she needs to adopt in order to deal with the situation. It's quite interesting to see how someone doesn't actually stop being a teen just because they're pregnant. She still goes to school, still socialises with her friends, still enjoys talking about all of the things she lovesd. As far as she is concerned, nothing has changed. There's none of the sensitive thinking of others, and all of the innocence that is so worrying about potential unwanted pregnancies.
I'm not a woman, and therefore can't understand the physical and emotional bond that bearing a child and growing it inside of you can entail. What you see as the film progresses is just how the confusion sets in at times, how the hormones have an effect and also how it starts affecting others around her, not least Mark Loring, with whom she develops a strong bond through a shared love of music. Bateman's ability to be completely relaxed through what is obviously as tense time is matched by Garner's equal ability to portray a tense and wound up woman who has to have everything just so, especially now that there's a baby on the way and they're relying on a blase teenage girl to bear it.
What the film doesn't do is harp on about the moral issues that this sort of situation would inevitably bring up. Simmons and Janney play supportive parents, but they're rather downplayed. Janney has a few sparkling moments, and Simmons is there as a strong supportive element, referred to by Juno as much as he is actually on screen, and this allows the focus to be firmly on the titular character and her predicament. I did admire the way it was all done, but the lynchpin was Ellen Page as Juno. She gives a stellar performance as the disaffected kid who initially takes everything in her stride, no emotional attachment, and it's as if it's just another thing to have to deal with but it doesn't matter as she's just a kid with her whole life ahead of her so it'll be okay. Right? Well, as the film develops, I think we see Page develop Juno into more of a mature individual. That she manages to maintain the quirky naivety at the same time is excellent, and it really makes you think.
An 'issue' such as unwanted teenage pregnancies is the sort of thing you'd expect to be flogged at you in a film such as this, almost to bring the message home like a thundering train, but if anything the message is more powerful by showing the calmer emotional side of things, and presenting it in a mature and realistic fashion. A lot of this is down to Page's turn as Juno, but Reitman's use of music throughout the film and also the patience he has with the camera really helps to make you think about the subject matter it deals with. It's the sort of film you could see being shown to teens to show them respect and also give them a realistic impression of how things might be. Obviously, it has a focus more on an American audience due to the location and therefore the nationality, but the message is universal.
I think it's also very realistic and practical to set the film at a standard and an acceptable level to be able to give it a 12 rating. This opens it up to teenagers and can therefore open their minds to what is a realistic potential situation without parents worrying about them watching a film that has been classified as 15 or even 18. The mature presentation mixed with the very innocent portrayal of Juno by Page combine very well, and despite it not being the sort of film that 'grabbed' me and wowed me, I can see why it was Oscar nominated and also why it has been looked at in such a mature and respected fashion. Recommended.
*** FILM ONLY REVIEW ***
'Juno' is the story of a teenager's unplanned pregnancy. It doesn't sound possible that such a story-line could produce a feel-good or funny movie, but somehow it does achieve this. The subject matter is handled elegantly, with sardonic wit.
When quirky teenager Juno (Ellen Page) has sex with her best friend Bleeker (Michael Cera), it seems more experimental and out of boredom than out of desire. Her resulting pregnancy comes as a shock, and to the pragmatic teen and her pal Leah (Olivia Thirlby) an abortion seems the answer.
It's on the steps of the clinic that she has a change of heart, and she decides instead to go through with the pregnancy and give up the child for adoption. She and Leah scour through adverts looking for a potential family for the child, and come up with the Lorings, (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman).
We follow Juno throughout her pregnancy: at her side as she tells her dad and step-mother, as she manages her now-uneasy relationship with Bleeker and through the trials of being the "cautionary whale" at school. We also watch as she gets to know the uptight Vanessa Loring (Garner) and her laid-back musician husband, Mark (Bateman).
Is this seemingly perfect couple too good to be true? Where is the rapport she and Mark develop over music and horror films leading? Will the Lorings make good parents? Will Juno give up the baby?
I liked an awful lot about Juno. It's not unproblematic in some respects, but I liked the way that it dealt with its subject matter.
The film is carried on the shoulders of Ellen Page, as the ascerbic and self-possessed Juno. The character has a mixture of teenage bravado and smarts, with a quick retort and precocious turn of phrase, yet also naive and not as emotionally mature as her words could fool you into believing. I think the film conveys well the contradictions of the transition into adulthood, wanting to be adult and having some very serious issues to handle, but still being in some respects a child. This is perfectly symbolised in the juxtaposition of the hamburger phone with her very formal request for an appointment for a termination near the start of the film.
In the early stages of the movie, the stylised teenage language of the younger characters seems a bit forced, but either you, the audience, come to accept it or it becomes more natural as the film settles into its stride.
One of my favourite things about the film was the strength of mind and confidence of the protagonist: she makes her own choices, without shirking or bleating. Contrary to the clichés one might expect from a film covering a topic like teenage pregnancy, her parents, her friend & Bleeker (the father) support her no matter what. Yet it is her alone taking the hard decisions and steering her own course.
I liked that Juno did not regret the sex and remembered it joyously; I liked that she was the instigator and wasn't pushed into it nor was ashamed afterwards, which would be so tempting a scenario for this type of film. At the same time, I didn't feel it glamorised teenage sexual activity. It did treat its audience as though they have brains in their heads, no hectoring or lecturing.
The family & friend relationships and interactions are what make this a feel-good movie. I liked that the step-mother Bren MacGuff (played by Allison Janney) was not a stereotypical, wicked witch figure, but truly loved Juno and would fight for her. I liked the portrayal of the father, Mac (JK Simmons), as well.
I liked that the convention of Jock vs Geek and Cheerleader vs Indie stereotypes was ignored or subverted. Not ever having experienced the US school system and not knowing how true to life these conventions may or may not be, it was refreshing to have a different perspective, where teen-castes were not so sharply delineated. There was over-lap and friendly interplay between groups: Bleeker could be a star-runner and a shy guy, Leah could be a cheerleader and friends with the outsider Juno. This rejected the simplistic, daggers-drawn snobbery commonly depicted in films featuring high school life.
The only things I'm not entirely comfortable with, is that the emotional consequences of these issues including adoption are rather evaded, and I feel we are rather on the surface of Juno's inner life.
Overall, the film manages a light touch and feel-good handling to a serious subject, without trivialising it - and that's quite a feat!
It's got everything, really. It's well filmed; the soundtrack is spot-on, reflecting the teenaged Juno's youthful naivete and more adult emotions. The cast all do great work and create believable and likeable characters. It takes a pin and punctures stereotypes and movie tropes and while I'm not entirely convinced by it emotionally, it's a good watch.
The DVD is available from Amazon new at £3.39. You may also catch it on tv or find it cheaper secondhand.
Product details (as available from Amazon):
# Actors: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney, Jennifer Garner
# Directors: Jason Reitman
# Format: Anamorphic, PAL
# Language English
# Region: Region 2
# Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
# Number of discs: 1
# Classification: 15
# Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
# DVD Release Date: 9 Jun 2008
# Run Time: 92 minutes
(This review appears elsewhere under my user-name, but has being lovingly revamped for DooYoo.)
This film is, quite simply, a joy to behold. Inevitably tagged as 'quirky' I would urge any of you normally averse to all things 'left-field', 'offbeat' or 'indie' to let it into your living room for a short spin on your DVD player.
Juno is a highly precocious 16 year old who discovers she is pregnant after extempore coitus with her socially awkward boyfriend, Paulie Bleeker. After a prickly broaching of the news with her father and stepmother she settles on an abortion, before a volte face decision to put the child up for adoption.
Her search for suitable adoptive parents is aided by her loyal friend, Leah. They happen upon the seemingly perfect couple in Mark and Vanessa Loring, yuppies domiciled in blissful middle-class suburbia. A meeting takes place and a closed adoption is agreed upon. During the visit Juno strikes up an unlikely rapport with Mark , which is fused by their love of music. Will Vanessa view this burgeoning friendship in a dimmer light? Will Juno develop cold feet and want to keep her baby? Can Mark and Vanessa learn from Juno in any way? What's more, can Juno learn from them? The sub-plot involves Juno's own doubt and confusion over the longevity of love, and the qualities needed in choosing a suitable life partner. Will the untimely denouement caused by her unanticipated pregnancy open up a solution for her, even indirectly?
Juno any good jokes?
Juno is a super-sassy teen and her coping strategy during these difficult years is her acerbic wit, smothered in a sauce of sarcasm. Such a description of her in cold print may well portray her as a jumped-up odious little upstart. But there are many facets to Juno's character which I think make her a charming blast of fresh air. The sarcasm and precociousness is tempered by self-deprecation and a mature, endearing realisation of her own limitations. For instance, she wholeheartedly admits to being a potentially unfit mother , while frequently aiming shots of self-effacing humour directly at her own current ante-natal 'situation'.
The humour is all-pervasive. In the scene where Juno and her father first meet the Lorings and their high-flying German lawyer, we witness toe-curling hilarity through semi-closed fingers! The disconnect in demographics generates guffaws galore as our tiny heroine strips back the veneer of pompous protocol and shiny, 'happy' people.
Her sarcasm could put down Muhammed Ali in his prime. In a scene with Bren, her canine-loving stepmother, an argument is unfolding. Bren flips, but the hurtful intention behind her retort is lost on Juno, who deflects and deflates in one whip-smart response:
Juno: "We don't even have a dog"
Brenda: " Yeah, we don't because you're allergic to their saliva. I have made a lot of sacrifices for you, Juno, and in a couple of years when you move out, I'm getting Weimaraners".
Juno: "WHOA, dream big"!
She is also on form when making light of the Lorings' desperation to have children. She even suggests that they go to China where they "fire them out like ipods"!
Juno is not the only source of humour, however, as evidenced by her best friend, Leah's,
contribution at her first scan. They are both wondering aloud at worst case scenarios concerning the child's eventual outcome. Juno worries that they might be an "evil molester". Leah thinks she has topped this by suggesting "...or a STAGE PARENT"!
There are many more mirth-making moments in this terrific script.
The A Word
The film has elicited praise and furore from the pro-life and pro-choice ranks alike. I realise that this is a highly sensitive issue but was still surprised to hear that it generated such feisty debate. To me, it champions the capability of decision-making by a very strong and intelligent young woman. I certainly fail to see how the film could be construed as propaganda. Many critics have had their say on both sides but the comment that makes most sense to me came from the mouth of Ellen Page herself:
" What I get most frustrated at is when people call it a pro-life film movie, which is just absurd...The most important thing is the choice is there, and the film completely demonstrates that".
Juno has also been called a feminist film. I certainly think that Juno, as role model, fills a gaping chasm for teenage girls in need of a strong character, something else which has been publicly lamented by Page. There is also the interminable question of the baby-specific work/life balance. Vanessa clearly aspires to being a full time mother, but some critics have pointed out the role feminism has played in facilitating the attainment of her high-flying career, which she is presumably looking to relinquish all too easily.
One thing that struck me about this film was the continual paradox of Juno's childlike qualities set against her ridiculously precocious maturity. A perfect example of this is when she calls the Well Woman abortion centre with the opening salvo "I wish to procure a termination". Such erudition is not the norm for a 16 year old, but this is wonderfully offset by her beloved novelty hamburger phone that she is calling from!
Juno's emotional immaturity is sometimes exposed, most notably when she gives Bleeker license to see another girl. When he actually takes her up on this, her fake insouciance defrosts and her jealousy erupts and pours forth venomous lava in the school corridor!
Her ante-natal craving is Sunny D, which she swings around in an enormous canister like a crazed arsonist with a gallon of gasoline. She also has a very child-like bluntness and ignorance of social etiquette, which admittedly breathes welcome air into some of the stuffy scenarios she finds herself. The opening credits are embellished by a cartoon of Juno strolling around the neighbourhood with her OJ, to a typically twee, child-like soundtrack. This serves to reinforce Juno's childish side, as do most of the other songs that make up the soundtrack. For instance, of all the white noise and thunderous rock songs in the Velvet Underground's canon we are presented with their pleasantly puerile I'm Sticking with You, sung by erstwhile drummer Mo Tucker. Most of the other songs have a similarly cutesy-indie, almost nursery rhyme, element to them.
I suppose that 16 is an age that bridges childhood and adulthood, something which is not lost on Director, Reitman.
Juno's childlike qualities are offset by her precociousness and comfortable confidence around adults. Her call to the abortion clinic and her dealings with the Lorings and their lawyer evidence this. Although her initial insouciant readiness to give away her own flesh and blood may rankle with some, I feel that we have to respect the fact that she has thought the matter through. Maybe this seemingly frosty façade is all part of the teenage armoury,but her directness cuts through the procrastination of adults around her like a laser through lard. This is particularly prevalent in the preliminary meeting with the Lorings. At first I did find her precociousness a little too incredible, after all what teenager do you know who speaks like that? But rather than being an odious little madam, Juno is redeemed by a ready realisation of her own limitations, both as a prospective mother and as an emotional being. Whatever view we may have about Juno's decision, it is with laudable maturity that she repulses the offer of financial compensation for ceding her child to Mark and Vanessa.
Juno's old man's pipe that she spuriously sucks on also provides a visual prop which reaffirms the adult in her. The deliciously bizarre scene where she parks the coital armchair outside Paulie's house, while drawing on her pipe, reminds me of a character straight from the pages of a Truman Capote short story.
Can't buy me love
Another subject tossed into the debating ring here is the true value of money or, more specifically, affluence. In Juno and the Lorings we have two diametrically opposed parties. The former is a not particularly flush 16 year old girl togged out in a red hoodie and check shirts. The Lorings live in relative yuppiefied palatial splendour. However, it is noticeable that these riches are completely reversed in terms of personality, strength of character and
general contentment. Despite her material trappings, Vanessa seems woefully one-dimensional due to her absolute obsessive commitment to being a mother. Sure, she is externally beautiful but has little beneath. Another outward/inward contrast is seen in Mark whose nodding-dog compliance with Vanessa is contradicted by his inner paternal reticence and general unhappiness. Juno has her problems but,in contrast, is generally solid and at one with herself.
These contrasts, however, are not merely there to cock a snook at the smug, self-satisfied 'perfect' couples out there. The MacGuff/Loring dichotomy also serves to promote helpful reciprocal introspection and self expression for Juno and for Mark.
Juno was filmed in Vancouver, but is actually meant to depict Minnesota. This is not too surprising when we learn that the Director and most of the principal cast are Canadian, Page and Cera included.
There is no doubt that this is Ellen Page's film, in fact it has become her starmaker leading ,no doubt, to her landing the big role in Inception. It would be hard to imagine anyone more perfect for the role of Juno MacGuff. Apparently, Page was 20 when it was filmed but she seamlessly slips into the guise of a 16 year old. Her potential reminds me a little of that once held by Jodie Foster, in that she appears fiercely intelligent with boundless talent. Let's hope she doesn't tread the same mine-strewn road that was Summersby and the dreadful Panic Room! She imparts her desert-dry wit with effortless aplomb, while retaining a certain hurt look in her eyes that rails against her potentially annoying precociousness and invokes sympathy in the character.
Cera is also wonderfully understated as the geeky Paulie Bleeker. Head-banded and resplendent in his burgundy and gold Dancing Elk running gear, he seems an unlikely star of the track team. His character seems quite a complex paradox of a painful inability for self-expression and a quiet, unshakeable confidence. With a penchant for popping Tictacs, he seeks sanctuary in his bedroom, probably from the smothering over-protectiveness of his mother. He is a thoroughly likeable character, and it is testament to Cera's acting skills that you want to jump through the screen to shake the right words out of him!
Olivia Thirlby is good as Juno's best friend, Leah. Her loyalty is commendable, from assisting in the search for the adoptive couple, through to being there for the birth. She is not short on humour either and some of the dialogue between the two friends is absolute gold dust. Leah has her own quirks, such as a liking for middle-aged male teachers and a place in the school's cheer-leading team. She is clearly intelligent, so it is nice to see that her involvement with pom-poms has not tarred her as the stereotypical airhead. However, her predilection for beardy, be-spectacled, paunchy pedagogues is a little worrying!
Two big characters at the films heart are, of course, Mark and Vanessa. These are both ably played by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner respectively.
Mark lives obediently under the domineering thumb of Vanessa. Formerly in a band, he now writes advertising jingles - something which clearly pays well. We learn that Vanessa has given him his own room to keep his stuff in. It is here that Juno spies his Les Paul guitar, thus fusing their unlikely rapport, which seems to liberate him.
The beautiful Vanessa comes across as completely obsessive about her impending motherhood to the apparent exclusion of all else. Her love of children is edifying but her eternal paranoia and vapid personality certainly rankles, as I am sure it is meant to.
J.K.Simmons and Allison Janney flesh out wonderful performances as Juno's father and stepmother. There is some inevitable friction between them and Juno, but their fierce love and loyalty shine through peppered with some highly comedic interjections!
Journos on Juno
The critics have been universally kind to Juno, and understandably so. You may struggle to find many ratings twinkling with less than four out of five stars. Furthermore, it was a recurring title in the top ten Film of the Year lists of many respected critics. In 2008, Empire actually included it as one of their top 500 Greatest Movies of All Time (463 to be exact). Juno MacGuff also hit number 56 in the same publication's list of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
"With its smart dialogue by newcomer Diablo Cody and a miraculously effective and evocative lo-fi soundtrack, the film has the ephemeral charm of a great pop song".
"A star is born as Ellen Page makes the most of a sassy script".
" Juno is more than a few smiles - it makes you laugh deeply. It's one from the bruised heart".
"Many things are very true about Jason Reitman's pearl of a film called Juno, and one of them is that while you're watching it, while it pulls you in as if through a portal to another life and dimension, you believe every outrageous line that comes out of the 16-year-old mouth of Juno MacGuff".
15. Contains strong language and moderate sex references.
Ellen Page / Juno MacGuff
Michael Cera/ Paulie Bleeker
Jennifer Garner/Vanessa Loring
Jason Bateman/ Mark Loring
Allison Janney /Brenda 'Bren' MacGuff
J.K. Simmons/ Mac MacGuff
Olivia Thirlby / Leah
Deleted scenes/Gag reel/Cast and crew jam/Screen tests/Audio commentary by Director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody.
For special feature fans I believe that there is also a double DVD version available, the second disc being devoted to extras.
English for hearing impaired. (Subtitles or local language audio may be available on some special features. Please use your remote control to access).
Aspect Ratio: 16:9 - 1.78:1
Number of discs: 1
Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
*This review has also been posted on Ciao under the username FLOCKOFSEAGULLS.
Sixteen year-old Juno gets preggars by mistake and decides to give her baby up for adoption to a desperate couple. Take the tone one way and you could end up with issues-a-plenty, but Juno heads into the wry comedy zone and nails it. Ellen Page (who did the snipping in Hard Candy) sassess it up as the title character, taking Diablo Cody's script and jabbing sardonic quip after sardonic quip at the lens, but not without a few moments of genuine emotion - check out the quivering mouth-corner during one crying episode. Now that's what you call control.
Page is supported by an equally strong cast, with Michael Cera (Superbad) playing his now trade-mark quiet but sweet role, his Arrested Development co-star Jason Bateman as the slightly iffy adoptive daddy to be, and equine skeleton Jennifer Garner gets landed with the straight part, but does a darn good job as the non-mother who just wants a baby.
But Juno is a way off a perfect 5 stars, and that's because it doesn't really deliver anything new or try to say anything too profound. Not that every film has to, and not that a film can't just entertain on its own merits, which this certainly does. But without a steady influx of big belly-laughs, Juno can't just hang its hat on the comedy peg (one-liners to make you chuckle being its standpoint). The script crackles with wit and off-beat humour, but displaces the cast into Dawson's Creek / The OC territory, meaning you never really believe these characters could be real. So what's left is a reasonable drama with some gestures towards themes like love, parenthood and the obvious teenage pregnancy stigma.
This film looked good as soon as I seem the trailer so I dragged my friends to the cinema to see it with me!
~* Release dates *~
This movie was realised at the Cinema on the 8th of February 2008 in the UK but it's now out on DVD and you can prob buy it pretty cheap now!
1.~* Plot outline * ~
I love this movie. Juno is a 16 year old girl and she finds out she is pregnant, she can't face having an abortion or keeping it for her self so she find's suitable parents in the penny saver newspaper and decides to let them adopt the child but this doesn't come easy as Juno soon finds out.
~* Casting * ~
the main casting includes
Ellen Page playing the lead as Juno MacGuff.
Michael Cera from Super bad playing Paulie Bleaker , The baby's father.
Jennifer Garner as Vanessa Loring the adoptive mother.
Full cast list can be find on IMDB.com.
~* Other information * ~
This is a PG - 13 movies due to the topic that is used in this movie.
The soundtrack from this movie is really good, sort of unusual but if you don't like the movie you will like the soundtrack.
~* Special features ~ *
It has all the usual features that you'd expect, Cast Interviews, Deleted Scenes and Bloopers.
~* My opinion 8 ~
I love this movie. My favourite Movie of 2008 so far , I would recommend it to everyone and the acting in this is fabulous. It takes a serious subject but it portrays it in a good way but I do feel that it makes it look like it's so easy to have a kid and give it up.
I went to see this movie three times when it was at the cinema, I really enjoyed it and brought it on DVD as soon as it was released!
At the start of the movie, we find out that Juno (Ellen Page) has fallen pregnant, after losing her virginity to friend Paul (Michael Cera). After discussing her options with her best friend, Juno decides her only option is to abort the baby. However, whilst at the family planning clinic, Juno has a change of heart and doesn't go through with the abortion.
She decides that she is going to give her baby to a couple who cannot have children so looks at the ads in her local paper and finds the 'perfect couple'.
When Juno breaks the news to her parents, they seem shocked that their daughter has got herself into this situation but proud that she has made the decision to give her baby up for adoption and give someone else the chance to be parents.
She goes to meet the couple who she will be adopting her baby, Vanessa and Mark. As she expected, the couple seem perfect. They both have strong careers to allow them to provide for the child and she develops a strong relationship with them.
The rest of the movie follows Juno through her pregnancy and continuing her schooling up until she is ready to give birth. Also, we see how Mark and Vanessa cope with the idea of finally having a baby and preparing for the arrival.
I love this movie. Although the theme of the movie should be quite serious, it is very fun and lighthearted. The way that Juno copes with her pregnancy and makes the huge decision to give her baby up for adoption is inspiring.
Also, the movie shows how a couple's relationship can be affected by the news of the arrival of a baby.
Although the movie could make some teenagers think 'well if i get pregnant I will just give it away', I think it puts across a message that, just because you are pregnant your life isn't over and abortion isn't always the answer. I have very strong opinions on abortion and think this movie could possibly change some people's views and gives other options. Saying this, I would not use the movie as a basis on what to do if I fell pregnant unplanned.
I've seen the film before but didn't pay too much attention to it then, and now having seen it for a second time, it is much more relevant and I understand it much more, also picking up more subtle details, thus enjoying it far more.
~~~THOUGHTS ON PLOT~~~
The story centres around sixteen year old Juno (Ellen Page) who accidentally gets pregnant after having sex with her best friend Bleeker (Michael Cera). After contemplating abortion, she decides to give it away for adoption, picking parents Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner respectively) through a newspaper ad. Through the pregnancy, Juno discovers herself and also learns about relationships; they aren't always what they seem.
I thought the concept of the plot was not strong, but through the messages and the themes that come through- teen pregnancy, abortion, marital problems- themes that many people can relate to.
I thought the upbeat tone to the movie also helped make it more enjoyable, whilst keeping it serious. This is helped by the funky tunes that can be heard throughout.
The ending was bittersweet and as I said, it really shows the dynamics of relationships and how things can turn out very differently, but overall, it was a good ending.
The cast, led by Ellen Page, was really strong. She brings a likeable persona to the character and she really looks like an average kid. Michael Cera wasn't all that inspiring, despite his current popularity. Olivia Thirlby, who plays Juno's best friend was originally considered for the role of Juno, but really she would've been too pretty and glamorous for that part.
The DVD can be purchased for around £5 online or in stores such as HMV.
The film was enjoyable and delivered strong messages through an upbeat movie. It was well produced and the cast did a great job. I would highly recommend this film if you haven't seen it already- Oscars well deserved.
I'd heard a lot about this film and decided to see what the fuss was about. As you probably know, the plot follows a teenage girl who finds herself pregnant and systematically and calmly arranges for the child to be adopted. She vets a suitable family, after finding them in the classified section of the local paper and tries to get to know them, and the new dad in particular who seems like a cool guy, a little better.
The film follows her dealing with the fallout of her situation and her feelings for the father of her child and the new parents of the baby. The subject of the motherly bond is investigated in depth here, as we see many variations of it. Juno's own mother has abandoned her, but her step mother has fiercely loving bond towards her, one which is reflected in the cautiously optimistic bond that grows between the adoptive mother of the baby.
As someone who has suffered infertility, I found the adoptive mother's struggle (played by Jennifer Garner) a really touching one. The way she tries to shield herself from forming a bond too soon with the new baby and her efforts to suppress any feelings or make solid plans till the deal is done; and then the end result, had me in tears as it is such a realistic portrayal of how infertility can affect someone's ability to hope and dream.
The main character is a great actress, making the part completely her own, and I also liked her parents, whose portrayal of the situation was realistic and endearing. However, I found the soundtrack to be a bit twee in a trying too hard to be edgy kind of way.
Juno was one of those films that created real buzz. With a young toddler at the time of the cinema release I knew that there was little chance of my seeing whether or not the hype was justified. I then forgot about the film as time went on. Wind forward a couple of years and catching sight of a DVD copy of the film in a library sale my interest was rekindled. Was the film worth the hype?
The film probably finds itself sitting in the Indie camp, a slightly off-beat film about a teen who finds herself where no young teen should - pregnant. Rather than taking the obvious line, the film explores some of the more permissive views about teen pregnancy and it is refreshing that it does not preach but rather explores the ideas of love, relationships and choices in a fairly humorous way.
Ellen Page puts in a rather good performance as Juno producing a believable teen torn by emotion yet retaining that sense of teen infallibility. Michael Cera as Bleeker, the rather (clichéd) father of the child has somewhat less about him but I think that might be a purposeful choice on the part of director Jason Reitman who allows the characters of Juno and the potential adoptive parents of her child (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) to take centre stage.
The script is witty but not at the expense of the seriousness of the situation that Juno finds herself in. It is contrived in the sense that the behaviour exhibited is highly unlikely ever to occur (least not in the way portrayed) but there is a delight in the simplicity of the characters and their actions. It raises questions that should be important to today's teens yet does not seek to offer the answers. Therein lies its power.
The soundtrack is superb although it may well date quite soon meaning that, unless the film attracts a cultish following it's likely to feel quite old in the not too distant future. The feel of the music fits the themes and style of the film perfectly and is neither under nor over-used to great effect.
The reportage-style direction also helps the film maintain its feel throughout making the film sit in a place that's believable without being presented as fact.
I think that this film has a couple of potential target audiences, both of whom will be well served. The first is the teen market, particularly the girls. I think that they will end the film with a bunch of questions but not feel "schooled" in the subject. The other audience is, perhaps, a little more mainstream - the kind of folks who like Bridget Jones, Notting Hill and the like. It's a bit more quirky and a bit younger but of a similar ilk.
Extras on the DVD include the standard deleted scenes (which were, in my opinion, rightly deleted) and a gag reel (maybe not the highlight of the disc!). There's a director's/writer's commentary and a look at the screen tests. The cast and crew jam is... well... let's leave it there.
Juno is a film that's well worth watching but perhaps not repeatedly (as there's insufficient there to merit too much attention). It was brave to deal with such a difficult topic in the way that the film does and I can see why this resulted in the hype at the time of its cinematic release. I'm glad I've seen the film and certainly rate it, but perhaps not as the cult film that I thought it might be. It ends as a feel good film. With this I have a slight unease but it is this that seals the appeal of the picture.
Juno is a film about a young girl getting pregnant, having to grow up and dealing with it.
Juno MacGuff (played by Ellen Page) Is a young sixteen year old girl, we first see her drinking from a large bottle of sunny D, this is so that she can do a pregnancy test.
I love the scene with the pregnancy test, she goes in for her third try and theres some banter with the shop keeper 'That aint no Etch a sketch, thats one doodle that can't be undid homeskillet'
She first tells her best friend Leah (olivia Thirlby) the news and she decides to go for an abortion. Deciding that she can't do this she walks out and decides that she is going to have the baby and give it up for adoption.
She tells her parent (J.K Simmons and Allison Janney) The news and they support her. I love her parents, although they know that this is something that she shouldn't of done they don't punish her and help her through this like good parents, they're there for her through anything that she needs and to support her.
Paulie bleaker (Micheal Cera) Is the father of the baby, as close friend of Junos and also a fellow band member. Bleaker is obsessed with Orange Tic Tacs, I love this description of a person!
Juno finds the couple Mark and Vanessa Loring (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) who really want a baby and set up an adoption with them. She finds a friend in Mark and whilst its through music and gore films this relationship feels really uncomfortable when you watch them.
I love the relationship that Juno and Bleaker has, its that kind of young uncomfortable friend relationship at times when you know that you really like someone and you can't admit it. I think that these two work really well in this film together. I love Bleakers character, a school runner kind of a geek boy but also has this amazing love for Juno. Its the kind of bad side of him!
Not only is this film amazing but it also has an amazing sound track including the kinks and the mouldy peaches. my boyfriend got me the soundtrack and its already been stolen from me by my mum!
this film is almost magical showing an side of teenage pregnancy that is so heart warming and caring. I especially love the beginning credits, the animation shows you what kind of film this is going to be
5 stars for this film and i rarely give five stars as its for that one extra special film!
This is a review of the 2007 film Juno, picked up from HMV for a snip at £3. I wasn't sure what to expect when I watched it but the cover promised it to be 'Hilarious and Cool' so I thought that it sounded like the perfect distraction for a Saturday night in.
**Brief outline - without telling you everything!**
Briefly to outline the plot, a 16 year old girl called Juno finds out she's pregnant to one of her classmates, Paulie. She is remarkably cool about it and tells him, her best friend and her parents. Juno decides to find a deserving couple to adopt the baby and we follow her story from conception to birth and the highs and lows that go with it.
Did I like the film? Yes, I thought it was OK, not hilarious but quirky and proably quite realistic. The lead character is quite a cool kid and comes across as funny, like when she meets the couple's solicitor, who holds her hand out to shake, Juno kind of high fives it and that just made me chuckle.
***A realistic storyline**
Her story is probably echoed throughout school halls everywhere these days with a mixture of the kids finding it cool and the other half looking horrified at the size of her bump. It's rated 15 but I think this is more to do with the issues that are presented in the film rather than that there is any graphic content.
***People can benefit from bad situations**
The parallel storyline of the adopting couple equally draws you in. You can see how desperate the wife is to be a mum and how much she is hurting and worried that their adoption is going to fall through.
***She's a person too**
In the meantime, Juno's a kid with musical talent and interest, and this is reflected a lot in the soundtrack and storyline of the film. She manages to keep her views and interest going throughout the pregnancy. Her little battle with her stepmum is also funny but touching when you see that they both really do care for each other despite the family rows.
***What can we learn from this?**
I think you can learn a lot from Juno, whilst they are making the most of a bad situation she continues with her schooling, keeps friendships going and remains in a good relationship with her father. You can see equally how easy it would be to get the balance wrong in the same situation.
**Who's in it?**
Juno - Ellen Page
Paulie - Michael Cera
Vanessa (adoptive mum) - Jennifer Garner
Mark (adoptive dad) - Jason Bateman
My DVD came with extras like deleted scenes, gag reel, cast and crew jam, screen tests and an audio commentary by the director and writer. That's a lot of extras for a cheap DVD!
Whilst there wasn't an awful lot going on in this film action wise, it's quite a touching story. Juno is a likeable character and she certainly copes well with her situation. For £3 it was a good buy I think.