Thursday, December 20, 2007


“Look, in my opinion the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what-have-you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out of your ass.”

Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is a bit of an outcast at school with a small circle of friends including cheerleader Leah (Olivia Thirlby) and her best friend Bleeker (Michael Cera) who she decides to sleep with, which leads to some unforeseen consequences.

On discovering her pregnancy, and quickly dismissing the other options after a trip to the local abortion clinic, Juno decides to have the baby and give it up for adoption. She finds Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) from and ad in the Penny Saver and everything seems like its going to work out, but this is a comedy so you know there will be some bumps along the way.

What I must mention first is the wonderful script by first-time screenwriter Diablo Cody. Filled with quotable one-liners (the film includes a terrific line about doctors which might be the funniest on-screen diagnosis of the medical profession I’ve heard), and moments both humorous and poignant, it just might be the best screenplay of the year. What surprised me most was how the film would introduce a typical Hollywood plot point making you sure you knew where the film was headed only to immediately take a 90 degree turn and lead you somewhere else. Nearly every decision here is the right one.

The film is completely centered around the performance of Ellen Page who knocks this one out of the park by flexing her muscles and displaying a wide range of acting ability. She was scary as hell in last year’s Hard Candy (making men cringe all over the country, read that review) and here shows great range in comedy as well as drama. It’s one of the best performances of any actress this year.

And she’s not alone. Michael Cera is perfectly cast as the lovable but unsure best friend, Bateman and Garner both put in nice turns in characters who are not quite what they initially appear to be (and make you forget recent career misteps like The Ex and Elecktra) and Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons are terrific as Juno’s parents. Also worth mentioning are Thrilby as Juno’s confidant and Valerie Tian as Su-Chin in a terrific role outside the abortion clinic in a short scene which sets up all that is to follow.

Jason Reitman makes all the right decisions here and the cast takes this terrific script and gives us one of the best films of 2007. Witty, sweet, and downright lovable, Juno is a must-see.

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