Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Movie Review : Juno
Director : Jason Reitman
Genre : Comedy
Released : December 2007
Starring : Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons
My Rating : 8 out of 10

For some unknown reasons, I had simply missed out on watching Juno till now. It had all the buzz when Diablo Cody won the Oscar for Best Screenplay and the movie had a few other nominations. But then I just forgot about it. It was a mistake that I recently corrected.

The story opens when Juno (Ellen Page) - a teenager - discovers that she is pregnant. She chooses the route of adoption over abortion. Fortunately, she has supportive parents (Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons) and even finds the perfect couple (Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman) desperately wanting to adopt her baby. We see these relationships progress till the story ends with the birth of the baby.

The marketing department for the movie has labeled this as a "comedy". I disagree with that label. Not because the movie is not funny. It certainly is. Although it's unlikely to generate any riotous laugh, but it will surely make you chuckle many times. The reason for my disagreement is, the movie is way more than a comedy. In Juno, what is not being said, is equally important.

Juno does have a tough external shell and is constantly bubbling with energy and quirky one-liners. But we also see her sensitive vulnerable side, and we completely understand what's going on in her mind, without she actually telling it all. That's true for all characters, even the ones that have very little screen time. It's amazing how Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody can paint a complete character with so few brushstrokes.

They are helped by superb performances all around. Juno may come across as a typical teenager initially, but Ellen Page shows us that she is also smart and courageous. Forced into adulthood, she is still learning about the world. Part girl, part woman, she is sometimes confused, even as she doesn't really want to admit it. Jennifer Garner is remarkable too. In general the female characters in this movie are stronger and more likable than the male characters.

The movie navigates around every melodramatic pothole but still clearly conveys the feelings. I would like to highlight the scene at the mall when Juno runs into Vanessa. There are surprising dialogues mixed in an emotional scene. That combination of sweet and tangy flavors is sprinkled all over the movie. And I would also urge you to listen to the songs that play in the background. The lyrics are amusingly offbeat, both musically and literally.

It's a short movie but still feels very complete. I highly recommend it.

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