Juno: hamburgers, sausages, and slushies
Tuesday, January 15, 20080 Comments
The movie opens as Juno drinks from a carton of Sunny-D, striding down the sidewalk of a middle-class neighbourhood drawn into a world that's part Waking Life, part Royal Tenenbaums.
Juno follows in the ironic slang/indie-culture name dropping of movies like Ghost World. In the first 20 or so minutes of the film, some of Juno's quips fall as flat as the naive, over-elocuted speech of characters from Dawson's Creek, the O.C., or even Sex in the City. The soundtrack features twangy, vocally quirky offerings from the likes of Cat Power, Belle & Sebastian, Kimya Dawson, the Moldy Peaches, and Antsy Pants (see a full list of the soundtrack here or listen to songs on the movie's official website here). Yeah, this movie is kind of cloyingly Indie.
Thankfully, it manages to avoid lots of other cliches that plague movies about teenagers, managing to pull you into the lives of the characters despite some of the film's earlier stylistic gimmicks. Juno holds back at all the right moments - like when she takes best friend Leah (Olivia Thilrby) to tell her parents she's pregnant, or nearing the end of the movie after she's given birth. Incidentally, the baby Juno pops out is not clean and pink with delicate eyelashes but a blueish gooey mess... there's been a lot made of birth scenes in comedies lately.
Like Enid from Ghost World, Juno gets herself into a bit of a spot with an older man. Mark Loring (Jason Bateman) is one half of the couple that agrees to adopt Juno's baby. From the get-go it's clear that Mark's intentions are muddy, but it seems at first like Juno empathizes with his taste in music and horror films, as well as his obvious misgivings about living like a wealthy suburban yuppy. Vanessa Loring (Jennifer Garner), initially a sort of formulaic, privileged adoptive mom-to-be (she would call her baby Madison), grows more likable as Juno's belly expands.
J.K. Simmons (Mac MacGuff, Juno's dad) and Alison Janney (Bren, Juno's step-mom) round out the cast as parents who are warm and loving and willing to offer their snarky misguided daughter the support she needs to get out of her pickle.
Juno doesn't fall into many of the moral pits or emotional overtures that it could. Instead, the film treats the topic of teenage pregnancy from the perspective of the rich web of relationships that blossom over the course of Juno's nine months. I would definitely recommend this movie - in fact, you've probably already seen it. If that's the case, let me know what you thought of it in the comments below... do you think Ellen Page should've won best actress at the bare bones Golden Globes? Did Juno's well-known/obscure cultural references annoy you too? What was your favourite part of the movie?