We're looking for contributors

JUNO Review - Ellen Page, Michael Cera Jason Reitman

JUNO (2007)

Director: Jason Reitman

Cast: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J. K. Simmons, Olivia Thirlby, Rainn Wilson

Screenplay: Diablo Cody

Ellen Page, Michael Cera in Juno
Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Juno

Directed by Jason Reitman and written by Academy Award-winner Diablo Cody, Juno is what most teen movies are not: non-commercial, with an "agenda" between the pages of its screenplay. In other words, Juno isn't an excuse for promoting a soundtrack, and because of its low budget it can take risks without worrying about the bottom line – and risks it does take.

The plot follows a high-school girl, Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page), who has sex with a boy she likes, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). As a result of that encounter, Juno becomes pregnant. Despite the pressing issue of teen pregnancy, Juno is actually more about the girl who gets pregnant, her quirky personality, and what she decides to do about her bun in the oven.

The film also offers some of the freshest, quirkiest, and most unique dialogue exchanges I've heard in a teen movie since the 1995 comedy-drama Clueless (though Clueless seemed to create new slang, e.g., "as if," "coastal," etc.), in addition to being far funnier than the prose found in the hit Superbad, which came out at approximately the same time as Juno. I'd already heard many of the phrases, slangs, and references found in Diablo Cody's screenplay, but they're all mixed together and packaged in a way that makes you take notice, smile on a regular basis, and sometimes laugh out loud.

The pregnancy, its effect on Juno, her relationship with her would-be boyfriend, her parents, and her school, are all handled with surreal lightness that's not exactly rooted in reality. But since Juno's character is well established early in the film, you can see why she is able to deal with the tough situation she finds herself in with a kind of unusual bravado.

How the teen pregnancy issue is handled is a topic for discussion, but at least it did spark new discussions. A more open forum on the subject – which happened to be an ordinary occurrence in centuries past – might create different outcomes for sexually active teens.

Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Ellen Page in Juno

Also worth noting is that Juno's supporting cast is remarkably effective; among them are Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner as Mark and Vanessa Loring, the would-be adoptive parents of Juno's unborn child. Garner's performance, in particular, was a welcome surprise. Additionally, J. K. Simmons and Allison Janney as Juno's father, Mac MacGuff, and stepmother, Brenda, are just as good as representations of the stable and knowledgeable elements in Juno's life. Indeed, these characters are for all intents and purposes the realistic elements in Juno. If it were not for them and for a handful of dramatic moments, Juno could be seen merely as a comedy like Knocked Up instead of a drama with comedic elements.

And finally, the range of emotions Juno goes through during the course of the film says a lot about Ellen Page as an actress.

The contrast between Jennifer Garner's and Ellen Page's characters was particularly intriguing. Vanessa is basically the opposite of Juno: She wants a child, Juno does not. She is ready for a child in her life, Juno is not. She is fully capable of supporting the new born; Juno is still a child herself, has not even graduated from high school, and is unemployed. She is willing to rearrange her life to welcome the newborn into her home, Juno is willing to give her child away to ensure it has a good home and everything else it could possibly need in the future.

Because of the quick decisions Vanessa and Juno make, Vanessa's husband finds himself at a crossroads in his life as well, though in a different manner. Mark's involves his life of "contributing" with Vanessa, the death of his ambitions, and being thrust head first into fatherhood. The careful viewer soon realizes that Juno is not about one but three people having to make crucial decisions.

Overall, Juno is an entertaining dramatic comedy about human beings dealing with serious issues such as teen romance and pregnancy. The way Jason Reitman and Diablo Cody handle the latter issue is sure to go on creating controversy, but to its credit Juno does not take the road well traveled.

© Reginald Williams

Note: A version of this Juno review was initially posted in April 2008.

1 Academy Award Win

Best Original Screenplay: Diablo Cody

3 Academy Award Nominations

Best Picture: Lianne Halfon, Mason Novick, Russell Smith

Best Direction: Jason Reitman

Best Actress: Ellen Page

If you found JUNO Review - Ellen Page, Michael Cera Jason Reitman an informative post, please recommend it to your friends. See share buttons above and on the left.
And consider following Alt Film Guide on Facebook and/or joining the FB group All About Movies.
JUNO Review - Ellen Page, Michael Cera Jason Reitman © 2004-2015 Alt Film Guide and/or author(s). Text NOT to be reproduced without prior written consent.

Continue Reading: THE GANG'S ALL HERE Review - Alice Faye, Carmen Miranda Busby Berkeley

Previous Post: 'Shanks' Movie Review - Marcel Marceau William Castle

Click on 'Load Comments' to leave a comment about JUNO Review - Ellen Page, Michael Cera Jason Reitman.

Important: Different views and opinions are perfectly fine, but courtesy and respect are imperative. Abusive, bigoted, baseless (spreading misinformation), and/or trollish/inflammatory comments will be blocked and offenders may be banned.


TSOTSI Gavin Hood
BACHELOR APARTMENT Review - Lowell Sherman, Irene Dunne, Mae Murray Lowell Sherman
SEVEN SAMURAI Analysis: Akira Kurosawa Classic Keeps Improving
MULHOLLAND DR. Review - Naomi Watts, Justin Theroux, Laura Elena Harring David Lynch
'Innocent Voices' Movie Depicts El Salvador Horror, Creationist Censorship Hits IMAX Theaters
'Ong-bak: Muay Thai Warrior': Tony Jaa Shines in Reactionary Action Movie
'The Perfect Crime' Movie: Politically Incorrect Black Comedy
LE GRAND VOYAGE Review: Excellent Performances in Traditionalist Father-Son Drama
SOUNDER Review - Paul Winfield, Cicely Tyson Martin Ritt
THE HOURS Review Pt.2 - Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore
ZOMBIELAND Rules Box Office
George Clooney, Elisabetta Canalis, Cameron Diaz: Golden Globes Red Carpet Photos
'Inception' (Barely) Passes $100 Million Milestone
'How to Train Your Dragon' Review: Jay Baruchel, Gerard Butler
THE CONVERSATION Review Pt.2 - Gene Hackman
MAN OF STEEL Review: Superman Movie Sensory Enhanced, Heart Deprived
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN Wins Another Award: Las Vegas Film Critics
Alfonso Cuarón Wins Two Unexpected Awards
JERSEY BOYS Movie Review: Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons' Boring Story
BOYHOOD Movie Review: Richard Linklater 'Conceptually Brilliant New Film'