Sunday, January 13, 2008

Juno (2007)

* * * * *

With Juno, former stripper turned writer Diablo Cody has crafted one of the most original, appealing scripts in years. The near-flawless script is what shines brightest, but the spot-on acting, genius casting, stylish and quirky direction, and fitting score make Juno a classic film about teenage angst, family, love, and adversity. Ellen Page was born to play Juno MacGuff, a career-making role that portrays a sixteen year-old girl that becomes unexpectedly pregnant. Her controversial decision to go through with the pregnancy and find adoptive parents present a story full of odd decisions, bizarre circumstances, and strange and hilarious moments. Page is brilliant as a cynical, sarcastic teenager with a strong sense of individuality but no sense of purpose. Michael Cera co-stars as Paulie Bleeker, the cross-country star and father of Juno's child. Like his Superbad character, Bleeker is confused and awkward, but unlike the former character Paulie is far less perverted and far more mature. Like Page, Cera seems perfectly casted for the script and has countless memorable lines. The supporting cast is phenomenal and includes Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner as the adoptive parents the Loring's, and Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons as Juno's parents the MacGuffs. All four roles were perfectly casted and performed precisely as the script intended. Jason Reitman, who also directed the satire Thank You For Smoking, presents the multi-faceted story beautifully capturing all the touching moments and laugh-out-loud scenes in a easy to watch, fast paced manner. The score is largely songs by Kimya Dawson but also includes a few classic rock gems that are key to certain scenes. There is no film this year or any recent years that can match the dialogue of Juno. The conversations are enthralling and each character has a blatantly distinct personality, each of which different people will identify with. Some may say that the script is so eccentric that it is over the top, particularly the character of Juno. But the constant sarcasm and wit, even to the point that it may be questioned, is what makes Juno so real. She says awkward things in inappropriate situations, taking it too far just like a teenager in her situation would in reality. The humor in Juno shouldn't offend most viewers, and the plot will charm those who may not get the jokes. Every character no matter how small or how large is memorable, each line is necessary, and all of the scenes lead to a great conclusion. Juno is both well-crafted and well-executed, the culmination of hitting a homerun with every element of the film.

Good for: families, a date, the young at heart

Bad for: those who feel uncomfortable often, mean people, conservative viewers

The Gallery
The Economist: * * * *
The Surfer: * * *
The Film Maker: * * *
The Writer * * * *

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