In the movie “Juno,” an uncommon love and a comfortable chair leads to Juno MacGuff and Paulie Bleeker’s first sexual encounter – and then, Juno’s pregnancy.
Ellen Page plays Juno MacGuff, a wise-cracking, quick- tongued 16-year-old girl who sleeps with her friend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), a lanky boy on the track team. Bleeker looks like a typical dork, but what he lacks in looks, he makes up in character and sensitivity.
Upon learning that her baby already has fingernails, Juno decides against an abortion. She takes her friend Leah’s suggestion and looks for adoptive parents in the PennySaver, which features advertisements of hopeful parents searching for children next to ads for exotic birds.
The perfect adoptive parents turn out to be Vanessa and Mark Loring (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman), who live in a perfect designer home with wide windows and an immaculate lawn. Although the spunky Juno would prefer a graphic designer and a bass player to be her baby’s parents, she is drawn in by the picture of Vanessa and Mark, citing how good they look, even in black and white.
Vanessa, who can’t have children of her own, is set on adopting a baby and, at one point, gets so carried away she buys baby clothes immediately after meeting Juno. Mark, on the other hand, prefers to live in a world where at his age, he can still hope to become the rock star he always wanted to be.
When Juno tells her father Mac (J.K. Simmons) and her stepmother, Bren (Allison Janney), about her pregnancy, their initial reaction is to try and stay calm. It takes them a second to process what they have just heard, later commenting amongst themselves how they were expecting Juno to reveal something more along the lines of drug use.
Its refreshing to see a teen comedy where the parents care about their children, as Mac accompanies Juno to meet up with Vanessa and Mark to ensure that no one is scamming his daughter.
It is remarkable the way Juno can make light of her situation, even as classmates openly glare at her belly as she walks down the hallway. Juno knows that there is nothing she can do about her situation, and making jokes is her only defense, calling herself “the cautionary whale.”
The film doesn’t glorify teen pregnancy. Its more about realizing that becoming a mother at any age is difficult. Even Vanessa, a grown woman, learns to accept that she is no better prepared to be a mother than Juno, but will take what life throws at her and learn the ropes of motherhood as she goes.
The screen writer, Diablo Cody, presents a screenplay with complex characters, whose personalities are revealed in small doses. Cody does not give away all her character’s secrets right away. Juno offers a brief glimpse past her fa?ade of sarcasm, as she lies in her hospital room with Bleeker by her side, about to deliver their baby.
When Vanessa and Mark are first introduced, they are the picture of perfection, but it is once again through Cody’s great writing that they are presented with an obstacle that will change their lives, as well as the lives of those around them.
Juno is a funny and touching movie that highlights the struggles of pregnancy, but exemplifies the ironic awkwardness of teenage years.
If Ellen Page’s Golden Globe nominated performance isn’t enough to get people to see this film, the music should be reason enough.
The indie-folk soundtrack with music from bands such as The Kinks, Cat Power and Belle and Sebastian leaves the audience with a warm and happy feeling.
Most notably is a wonderful cover of the Moldy Peaches song, “Anyone Else But You,” performed by Page and Cera, that will leave audiences with a longing feeling for their own real life version of Bleeker, who as Juno puts it, is “the cheese to my macaroni.”