Faced with an unplanned pregnancy, sixteen year old high-schooler, Juno MacGuff, makes an unusual decision regarding her unborn child.
Excellent, Without a doubt!!
This is a coming of age storyline that you've seen in one form or another for decades. It takes a truly unique voice to make yet another one worth watching.
Let me be very fair here, this is not the best movie in my opinion. But, this movie is fun, it has purpose and is very enjoyable to watch.
The story, direction, characters, and writing/dialogue is akin to taking a tranquilizer shot to the neck, but everything else was so well done.
Oh yeah, just what we need, a movie that role models the glory of teenage pregnancy that makes it look like a normal, every day, kickin' thing to do. I defy anyone to find me a teenage girl like Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) who can be as glib as she was considering her condition, with the confidence to blurt out multiple cultural references at the drop of a hat. Come to think of it, prospective adoption mother Vanessa Loring (Jennifer garner) wasn't much better - custard or cheesecake? - good grief! At that point I didn't know whether the movie was a cutesy treatment of teenage angst or an outright spoof of the Millennial generation. Scratch that, there didn't seem to be any angst here at all.The biggest problem I had with the entire movie was Juno's flippant attitude with just about everything that came her way. Can anyone be that disconnected from real life situations that have the potential to be life altering in unforeseen ways? The mid-stream course reversal by Mark Loring (Jason Bateman) also seemed to come out of left field. It sounded like the couple was trying for a baby for a long time, and now that one was on the horizon, he bails on his wife? The one thing I'm glad of is that the picture didn't have him make an outright play for Juno, because it looked like things were leaning in that direction with a couple of the set ups.One thing I liked - this is only the second film I've ever seen that carried a reference to my favorite Seventies rock 'n roll band - Mott the Hoople. I never ran across anybody else who ever heard of them. In case you're wondering, the other picture was "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore".
This is one the worst films I've ever seen - I don't know why it's popular. Skinny dorky teenage boys don't even get the opportunity to hold hands with girls (unless they're rich), let alone have sex with pretty girls - so Juno wanting anything to do with Paulie is unbelievable. Juno's reaction to being pregnant by a dork at 16 is ludicrous. She takes the news calmly at though it's nothing. First she casually decides to have an abortion, then casually changes her mind to have the baby adopted - with less emotion than most people expend on deciding what to wear or eat today.
"Juno" is a "must see" for any person over 40 who is interested in "the human condition." Before I explain why, I must emphasize that this is a very wholesome movie.Even though there is a "sex" scene, it is not in the slightest bit prurient or pornographic; it is "tastefully done." It fits into the natural flow of the movie; the over-all message would be less without it. I would not have hesitated to take any of my three daughters or their girlfriends to see it when they were 16-18. (All my children are over 30 now. They are all married and have children of their own.) Here are some examples of the kind of insights into (or questions about) the human condition the movie has to offer. In the movie itself, these examples go by pretty fast; they are little sidelights to the main plot. Hopefully my comments will encourage you both to see the movie, and to increase your enjoyment of it when you do see it.1) Juno's Asian classmate, Su-Chin, is picketing the abortion clinic. Previously pictured as a mousy type, it is a pleasant surprise to find out she is quite spunky.In real life, do not people often turn out to have admirable hidden qualities when you get to know them better? 2) Su-Chin says many things to Juno at the abortion clinic, but the one that stuck was, "It already has fingernails." Isn't it amazing how such tiny things often to be the "swingers" when we are making a big decision? Or, maybe our subconscious focuses the attention of our consciousness on such trivia as a kind of distraction so that we will hurry up and do what our subconscious wants us to do? 3) The comments of the adult MacGuffs (Bren and Mac) show great insight into Juno's situation. AND, Bren and Mac are totally on Juno's side. Not wanting to exert too much control on the one hand, wanting things to go as smoothly as possible for Juno, on the other hand. (J.K.Simmons performance as Mac was outstanding, BTW.) Does not God often give "special wisdom" to parents to help them raise their children?When Juno is not there, Mac says to Bren, "I wonder whose idea it was"? Bren says, "We know whose idea it was." Mac and Bren know Juno better than she knows herself, and they care about her. Far more than Juno is able to comprehend.Do not our own parents often grow wiser as we get older? Or is it us who are becoming more aware of the wisdom, and love, that they had all along?4) Late in the film, Juno blunders her way into an uncomfortable situation in the middle of the Loring's marriage. One of the MacGuffs comments, "Juno doesn't understand about marriage." Yep, Juno did not understand the dangerous road she was walking because she did not understand about marriage. I've been married 49 years and have 12 grandchildren. And yet, how much do I really understand about marriage? Almost nothing compared to what there is to understand.In fact, Juno would have been better off not knowing what she found out (IMO). How often would we be better off not knowing something that we know about another person? 5) Juno's attitudes are SO typical of 16-18 year old girls. For example, "I want to find somebody really cool like an architect or interior designer to parent my child." And yet, successful people in those professions are often too wrapped up in themselves to make good parents. You want to find somebody with the time, the resources, and the desire to be a good parent. Juno lucked out; she found Jennifer.16-18 year old girls seemed much wiser to me when I was a teenager than they did when I was the Father of three of them.6) Another example. In this show it is Bleeker who is the sensitive one, the more mature one, the more respectful and loyal one; the one who is "pining away" while Juno keeps him at arm's length throughout most of the movie. And yet, Bleeker is completely masculine; he is not a "whimp." Young (teenage) people, both men and women are so much alike in real life. In popular and media stereotypes, the young woman is often the one who is "pining away." It is thought provoking to see our stereo types challenged. And in Bleeker, they are challenged in an inspiring and awe provoking way.7) Another example. For the whole show, Bleeker is "head over heels" in love with Juno, and Juno feels the same way about him. However, it is not until near the very end of the movie that she even has a clue how he feels about her. Not until he says, "I think you're beautiful," and she replies, with great surprise, "You do?" Is not this unawareness of relationships typical of many young people? 8) Juno thinks that she is not physically attractive, although she is very attractive. Is this not typical of many young women today? - - - - The bottom line is that the movie is not so much about teenage pregnancy as it is about the give and take of family life. The movie uses the pregnancy of a particular teenage as a platform from which to offer very positive and hopeful insights into the Human Condition.Enough. Words can not do it justice. If you are over 40, and you are interested in people, you just HAVE to see it.Deacon John
Diablo Cody penned an insanely well-written story of a sixteen-year- old individualist who becomes pregnant with her friend/crush in her 2007 film Juno. Directed by Jason Reitman and starring Ellen Page, Jennifer Garner, and Jason Bateman; Juno is fantastically crafted with enough pop culture references to place it until the end of time. The uniqueness of each person is fostered and treasured through Juno, going to show that if you can find that one person to make you feel comfortable with being you, do whatever you can to be with them. After becoming pregnant with her best friend's baby, Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is unable to go through with an abortion, so she begins seeking an adoptive family for her baby. After meeting with prospective parents Vanessa Loring (Jennifer Garner) and Mark Loring (Jason Bateman), the "Pennysaver Loring's" Juno is convinced this is the family to raise her child. Over the course of her pregnancy, outlined by the changing Minnesota seasons which surround her, Juno grows close to Mark a commercial composer who is adjusting to prospective parenthood at a much slower rate than his eager wife Vanessa. Mark takes the opportunity of Juno's company to indulge in some of his interests and hobbies that had been suppressed since his marriage. The more he listens to his old music and plays music, the more hesitant he is to tie himself down and father a child. The changes in Mark and Vanessa's relationship becomes difficult for the two of them to handle. Juno's many changes create difficulty in her life as well, as she watches her friends enjoy prom and high school life, oblivious to the adult issues Juno must face as a pregnant teenager. Each person has been injected into the lives of those around them for a purpose, and it is up to each of them to find that purpose and grow through the transformation thrust upon them. The opening scene showing where it all started, with a chair, instantly shows the audience what type of film they will be in for. Then, the opening credits shown through animation create a beautiful glimpse into the type of moving art placed before the audience. One can see after the first 10 minutes of the film that its shining star is its script. Not enough good can be said about Diablo Cody's witty pop culture laden beauty of a screenplay. Juno is a fantastic ensemble piece that is so much better, by the way, now that I have had more exposure to the supporting cast. Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons are incredible standouts in the film, even more now that I have enjoyed Janney in The West Wing and Simmons in Whiplash. The music and wardrobe in this film are top notch and fit with the realism of Juno's world perfectly. A movie centered around pregnancy is perfectly outlined by the changing seasons, an excellent decision on the part of director Jason Reitman. But not only Juno was changing, Mark was also going through changing seasons of his life as he was intimidated to let go of his past, and Vanessa as she was looking forward to spring into motherhood. An exceptional and underrated film, Juno is just as good 8 years removed from its release as it was the night I saw it in theaters. Motherhood comes in many forms. Juno knew she was "ill-equipped" to become a mother at the stage in her life when she became pregnant. She also knew that since she was unable to go through with an abortion that she could bless the life of another with her baby. In the least sentimental way possible, Juno traverses the struggles of unplanned teenage pregnancy. Vanessa's supreme wish in life is to become pregnant when she is unable to, and after a failed previous attempt at adoption due to Mark's "cold feet", Vanessa is more determined than ever to become a mother. The conclusion of the film with Juno reflecting upon the notion that Vanessa was always the mother of her child was strikingly powerful, proving that motherhood s not exclusive to those that give birth.