Director: Jason Reitman
Writer: Diablo Cody
Released: December 2007
Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J. K. Simmons
Holy crap, if you haven’t seen this, you are seriously deprived of life. Likewise, if you saw it and didn’t like it, you have been shunned.
However, I saw it. Then I saw it again. Then I purchased the DVD with my hard-earned pennies and enjoyed it a whole lot more. Juno is more than just a “comedy drama” as Wikipedia so conservatively stated. It is the hilarious and refreshing story of a typical teenager, Juno McGuff (Ellen Page), and her slight mishap of falling pregnant by the introverted and slightly cheesy Paulie Bleaker (Michael Cera).
It is a movie like no other… It may be distantly related humour-wise to the likes of Little Miss Sunshine (another film dear to me), but its use of language and musty image wreaks of painfully ordinary and very relatable environments.
Juno is a fantastic movie because it has a serious undertone blended with the raw and in-your-face snarky remarks of the teen characters. It’s a story of family, essentially. The relationship between parents and children, divorce and innocence, as well as the relationship – or lack of – between generations. Juno’s love of rock n roll and horrors from the 70s, and the longing for youth that some of the adult characters experience.
The humour is split down the middle; the adults of the audience will laugh at the parent’s reactions and the teens of the audience will be quoting McGuff for the next few months. It’s not a vile rom-com or on par with “Knocked Up”, it’s emotionally deeper than those one-hit-wonders.
The writer, Diablo Cody, was a blogger, that’s how she was approached by a film producer and asked to write a script. She came up with Juno. The shocking dialogue sometimes provokes nervous laughter, or may be tear jerking or blatant Laugh-Out-Loud material! It’s quite an intricate script which essentially follows the awkward storyline of Juno McGuff as well as the adoptive parents that “June-Bug” picks out (who’s marriage is subsequently on the rocks).
The first thing I had to do after seeing this film was to buy the DVD. The second thing I had to do was buy the soundtrack. The tracks are just as quirky as the film, particularly Kimya Dawson’s many songs and instrumentals that made the final cut. They go very well with the feel of Juno, particularly the bluntness of the protagonist.
Reitman’s dedication and patience is obvious when you see the clearly painstakingly long time it would have taken to create the intro – it was worked on from the beginning of the shoot to the very first viewing, nevertheless, worthwhile. The shots are mostly static.
It’s all in the lighting and seventies colour scheme of clashing reds, oranges and browns with knitted-looking clothing and dated throws on furniture. Reitman’s work reminds me of Edgar Wright’s (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz…) approach to filming. You can tell it’s an off-beat approach somehow, yet refreshingly upbeat and incredibly honest.
It’s not a fast-paced movie anyway, but I think the montage scene I found on the DVD extras was something that would have kept up the pace… Although it may have detracted from the overall emotion of the film, so in the end the scene’s absence was a blessing in disguise, even if it did tie a ball and chain to the overall pace.
Still one of my favourite films even after all these years.
Jodie’s rating: 8.5/10