Directed by Jason Reitman
I last watched this movie on the plane back from America in July last year. I was in a state of physical and emotional exhaustion, having not really slept the night before being taken on a whirlwind tour of LA by Hamish. I needed something familiar enough to be comforting and also interesting enough to be a bit of a distraction and when Juno came up on my menu of movies on the wee screen on the back of the seat in front of me it fit the bill and I stuck it on.
Watching Juno in that state it was severely affecting, as you can probably imagine. Luckily it’s okay to be sobbing like a freak when you have an emotional movie on in front of you, and no one tried to have me sedated or indeed, tried to intervene in any way. It’s a relief to be able to let go like that.
There’s a lot to love here. Juno’s relationships are really the focus of the movie. How she gets on with Bleeker, who she loves – but doesn’t allow herself to know. The wonderful father/daughter dynamic and the more strained relationship with her stepmother. Her and her best friend… and of course with the couple who are intending to adopt the baby.
It’s interesting to look at the relationship between Juno and Jason Bateman’s reluctant adoptive father, Mark. You can read it as Juno innocently trying to be friends with an older guy who she genuinely thinks is interesting, that she wants to ensure will give her baby a loving home. But you can easily read it the way Mark does – that she’s interested in kissing him. He relives his youth through her and from there decides he wants to pursue the dreams he used to have and leave behind the life he’s built with Vanessa. It’s easy to blame him for that – cast him as the bad guy, but of course if he didn’t want to raise a child getting out early is the best thing for both Vanessa and the child.
I do love how complicated this movie is. There really are no easy answers.
Of course this is really the world’s introduction to the marvelous Ellen Page and I have to say: what a way to make an entrance. It’s not exactly a ‘pregnant teen makes good’ movie, but it’s close to that – and it’s hard to think of other movies about pregnant teens which are both so down to Earth and so light hearted. Come to think of it, it’s usually the end of that character in teen movies if pregnancy happens, or it leads to terrible things like in Dirty Dancing. Ellen Page had of course, already done Hard Candy, but a lot of people avoided that film for very good reasons. She is fantastic in it, though.
I know this is Jason Reiman’s movie in the sense that he directed it, but I can’t help but think of it as Diablo Cody’s film. Her voice through the script is so witty, so unique and so very interesting that I’m not sure how much of the success is due to the director. The actors do amazing work with an excellent script, and although it’s shot beautifully and the soundtrack’s amazing I feel like the script is the true star.
Bechdel test: Many times over, which is a nice refreshing change from the other movies in the list so far!
Best lines, because there are so very many:
Juno: Bren! Use a dick!
Juno: I never realize how much I like being home unless I’ve been somewhere really different for a while.
Juno: Yeah, I’m a legend. You know, they call me the cautionary whale.
Rollo: That ain’t no Etch-A-Sketch. This is one doodle that can’t be un-did, Homeskillet.
Mac MacGuff: Liberty Bell, if you put one more Baco on that potato, I’m gonna kick your little monkey butt.
State of Mind: I’m always surprised by the amount of sadness I feel from this movie. I usually just remember the jokes…