Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Movie Review: Juno

By Jean M. Heimann, Catholic Fire

Juno opened here this weekend and I went to see it. This film really surprised me! I had heard it was good, but I had no idea that it would be so funny, and, at the same time, so touching. It was obvious from the reactions of the audience (the laughter and the tears), I was not alone in my feelings for this film.

Ellen Paige plays Juno McGruff, a brainy but zany 16 – year – old, who decides to have sex for the first time with her best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), who is also a virgin. Naturally, she gets pregnant and after a frightening trip to the abortion clinic, Juno decides to give the baby up for adoption. At the suggestion of her girl friend Leah (Olivia Thirby), she checks out the want ads in The Penny Saver and discovers a picture – perfect couple to be the parents of her child -- Mark and Vanessa (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman).

When Juno breaks the news of her pregnancy to her dad and stepmom, Bren (Allison Janney) and Mac (J.K. Simmons) they react in a calm and loving manner. They are older and wiser than some teen parents and seem to be understanding and genuinely concerned about their daughter, although it is obvious that they do not condone premarital sex. They do make some very candid comments, which are hilarious.

Mac goes with Juno to visit the would – be adoptive parents who, in addition to looking like celebrities, live in the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood, and are obviously more than capable of financially providing for the child. However, as Juno gets to know them better – she discovers their ideal relationship is not what it appears to be.

As we travel through the nine month journey with Juno, we learn that her wisecracks and jokes are a cover-up for her true feelings – deeper feelings she has about the pregnancy and the baby, the pain she is going through, and her feelings for Paulie. She is a sensitive, loving, unselfish young woman who faces the truth, thinks it through, and deals with it accordingly. We see the growth and maturity that takes place within her as a result of this experience.

This is a film I would like to watch again to laugh again, to cry again, to listen to the music again, and to analyze just a bit more. I enjoyed it that much and I think you will, too.

I give it 4 out of 4 stars and an A rating.

Juno" has been nominated for three Golden Globes, including best comedy, best actress in a comedy and best screenwriter.

This movie is rated PG – 13.


Julie D. said...

Roger Ebert also listed it as his favorite movie of 2007, which I found amazing.

Can't wait to see it and your review has heightened my desire! :-)

Jean Heimann said...

That is amazing! I enjoyed it for a number of reasons but I believe Ellen Paige's acting was outstanding and because it seemed so true to life for me.

Women I know who have had abortions describe the scene inside the abortion clinic as very realistic and similar to their own experiences.

One lady I know who has been a crisis pregnancy counselor for over 35 years now told me that she thought this movie was even more pro-life than Bella.