Yet another recommendation

Juno is the sort of movie in which characters speak to each other as if they really do know each other intimately. There are no extraneous moments in which someone seems to be consciously putting on a typical scene from their life so that the audience “gets” how things work. Because of this, we trust these characters from the beginning. And we like them.

juno.jpgWe especially like Juno herself, played with Oscar-level skill by Ellen Page. She gets to be funny, clever, mischievous and independent in ways almost always reserved for male characters in teen comedies. The remarkably consistent tone of the movie never lets the snarky sarcasm escaping from her mouth in every inappropriate situation take away from the hope and warmth permeating her life. Her interactions with her dad (J.K. Simmons) and her stepmom (Allison Janney) are refreshingly free of teen movie cliches of bumbling parents who just don’t understand their kids. It is fun to be let into her life.

When Juno finds herself pregnant and unable to go through with the abortion she plans (her consideration of this option rings much more true than the corresponding scenes in Knocked Up), she seeks out adoptive parents. Mark Loring (Jason Bateman) and his wife Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) are this seemingly perfect Martha Stewart couple, but neither of them will turn out to be exactly the sort of person they seem to be in their first scene. Their development is cannily framed through Juno’s perspective, though we can also occasionally see how her perspective is flawed. There are clues that give an idea of what is going on beneath the surface of these people that Juno misses but a savvy audience member will pick up on; she is a wise 16, but always 16, and knows less than she thinks she does. Mark and Vanessa each share one particularly important scene with Juno in which she sees who they truly areone is heartbreaking, one brilliantly heartwarming. They are perfect complements to each other and highlights in the near flawless screenplay by Diablo Cody, never overdone by director Jason Reitman.

And then of course there is Michael Cera as Paulie Bleeker, the father of Juno’s baby. He is as impressive here as I expected him to be. It takes an awful lot of talent to appear that effortless. I’ve expressed my love for his work many times, and the fact that it was the last thing that I remembered to write about in this review proves how much in this movie is worth celebrating. It is easily one of the best I’ve seen in a very busy year for good movies.


2 Responses to “Yet another recommendation”

  1. 1 patty December 17, 2007 at 4:33 pm

    i wasn’t expecting to love juno’s parents as much as i did. i mean, obviously all the actors were spot on, but the parents were my favorite.

  2. 2 kuldeep January 10, 2008 at 3:31 am

    Are you interested in writing movie reviews?

    Pls check out this opportunity at MoviePress,

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