Monday, September 21, 2009

#463: Juno (2007)

Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, J.K. Simmons, Allison Janney, Jason Bateman & Jennifer Garner

Juno is a junior in high school when she and her best friend Bleeker decided to have sex in an armchair. When she finds out that she’s pregnant, she first decides to “nip it in the bud”, but gets cold feet when she gets to the clinic. Instead, she finds a couple in the Pennysaver who are looking to adopt. The film chronicles Juno’s hardships at school, her relationship with Bleeker, and her correspondence with the surrogate parents.

There’s too many good things to say about this film, it’s hard to know where to start. In fact, I’m going to just make a list.

  • Casting/Acting

There isn’t a single character that isn’t extremely strong in personality. Each has their quirk, yet they’re all not only believable, but likable characters. Of course, the best example of this is Juno herself. Though Ellen Page is, in fact, a mirror image of Juno’s personality, she’s able to provide a depth to the character that nobody saw coming going into the film.

Even though there are disagreements throughout the film, not one of them ever does anything that isn’t to like, and the only mean-ness displayed is only a miscommunication. This people-friendly portrayal of the entire cast provides the audience with a strengthened faith in humanity, which is pretty darn cool if you ask me.

  • Art Direction / Cinematography / Props

The film is rife with color and texture. Though my history is in music, I’ve always been a visual learner, and this film provides so many iconic images that not only give the film a unique feel, but also add to the personality of each of the characters. For example, Juno’s hamburger phone. Honestly, it was probably a $5 purchase at a dollar store, but it’s something that anyone who has seen this film will remember for a long time.

  • Music

The majority of the soundtrack is performed by The Moldy Peaches, which was chosen thanks to a recommendation by Ellen Page. The songs are all sweet and childlike, which resonate with Juno’s carefree attitude. The soundtrack is loads of fun to listen to, and is right up there with Little Miss Sunshine when it comes to soundtracks that I’d like to purchase (if I ever purchased soundtracks).

  • Dialogue

The dialogue is probably what people will remember most from this film. On many instances I’ve heard that Juno can be called a study on the English language in the high school scene, and I can agree with that. The witty style of writing is all thanks to the Diablo Cody, ex-stripper and present-day author, screenwriter and journalist. You really can’t get a style to match it from somebody that hasn’t been a stripper.

I’d also like to include some quotes that make me laugh just about every time I see this film.

Leah: Honest to blog?

Mac: Who is the kid?
Juno: The-the baby? I don’t really know much about it other than, I mean, it has fingernails, allegedly.
Bren: Nails, really?
Juno: Yeah!
Mac: No, I know I mean who’s the father, Juno?
Juno: Umm… it’s Paulie Bleeker.
Mac: Paulie Bleeker?
Juno: What?
Mac: I didn’t think he had it in him.
Leah: I know, right?

Juno: You should've gone to China, you know, 'cause I hear they give away babies like free iPods. You know, they pretty much just put them in those t-shirt guns and shoot them out at sporting events.

Rollo: (Juno shakes her pregnancy tester) That ain’t no Etch-A-Sketch. This is one doodle that can’t be un-did, Homeskillet.

Leah: So, are you going to go to Haven Brook or Women Now? ‘Cause you know, you need a note from your parents for Haven Brook.
Juno: Yeah, I-I know. Ummm… no, I’m going to go to Women Now, just cause they help out “women now”.

  • Message

As I said, this film shows a strong faith in the kindness of people. What compliments this is that the film in fact helps bring liberals and conservatives together. Though Juno is clearly a liberal, her change of heart at the abortion clinic demonstrates that not all liberals think of an abortion as an easy choice. This film is both liberal- and conservative-friendly, even while focusing on a sore topic in politics.

If you haven’t seen this film, get yourself out of that hole and do it. You won’t regret it. Two thumbs up.

Fun Trivia (Stolen from IMDB):

  • At one point before Juno visits Mark, he is sitting at his computer reading Diablo Cody's (the movie's screenwriter) real-life blog, known as "The Pussy Ranch".
  • Jennifer Garner dropped her A-list salary to a percentage point agreement for Juno when it was expected to be a small, low grossing indie film, but the decision paid off when Juno became a breakout smash at the box office - giving Garner her best payday yet.
  • Director Jason Reitman mentions on the DVD audio commentary that several objects in Bleeker's room, including a Hebrew alphabet poster on his door, a framed Bar Mitzvah certificate on his wall, and a dreidel on his shelf, are supposed to indicate that Bleeker is Jewish.

No comments:

Post a Comment