Directed By: Jason Reitman
A sixteen-year-old girl named Juno (Ellen Page) has made an important discovery: she's pregnant. The father is her one time love interest Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). Juno chooses not to abort the pregnancy, but to give the child to a needing couple, Vanessa and Mark Loring (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman).
Juno, directed by Jason Reitman, is a small but satisfying film about love, birth and relationships. Despite its moderate running time it remains wholly satisfying as a comedy. It remains familiar territory for Reitman who's previous film Thank You For Smoking was also about children and parentage.
Surprisingly, the film does take its time to hit its strides. The start of the film feels slightly forced and smug in its humour, with its oddball characters, including a weird convenience store clerk and a gothic receptionist handing out flavoured condoms. It is as though Reitman is trying a bit too hard to be quirky.
But thankfully it settles and eventuates as a very sweet and funny film, mainly due to the very likeable performance of Ellen Page. Even at twenty she remains so believable as the teenager Juno. She looks physically younger and smaller and her delivery and timing of her lines, courtesy of a script by Diablo Cody, is spot on. The bulk of the film is dependent on Page but she carries it so well. She is in nearly every scene in the film and without her it would never have been the same. She's very deserving of that Oscar nomination. There is also strong support from Juno's father (J.K. Simmons) who adds some nice comedic touches and even Jennifer Garner surprises too with real sincerity.
There is a point in this film where the story could have entered darker territory. Juno makes frequent visits to the would-be father Mark, but their newly formed friendship remains harmless and innocent. Nothing terribly major occurs throughout the film and there are few surprises. Its about people and a small slice of life.
In lesser hands it could have been a mere coming of age story. Reitman however seems keen to stress the importance of parentage in the most humourous way. It is a timely topic too with celebrities adopting and having children like it is going out of fashion. Juno, amongst the gloom and gore of cinema today, is a movie that will leave you with a warm feeling. Its a really nice film.