JunoWednesday, April 08, 2015
Directed by: Jason Reitman
Written by: Diablo Cody
Edited by: Dana E. Glauberman
Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, J.K. Simmons, Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner
So what's the prognosis, Fertile Myrtle? Minus or plus?
Plus, plus, plus! And in this instance it's not a bad thing.
Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) finds herself 16 and pregnant after having sex with her friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). As all teenagers do, Juno thinks she has the whole situation figured out, making an appointment for an abortion as quickly as possible. Sitting in the waiting room, Juno realizes she can't go through with it and instead makes the decision to place the baby up for adoption. Her friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) suggests looking for couples that are "desperately seeking spawn" in the Penny Saver.
Juno ends up settling on Vanessa and Mark Loring, whose believably pretty photo in the paper seems to seal the deal. When Juno meets Vanessa and Mark, we see that the couple are opposites in almost every way. Vanessa is uptight, sterile, clean-cut, and wants a baby more than anything else in the world. Mark on the other hand, wants to relive his younger days of being in a rock band, traveling the world, and staying home to watch horror movies. Whenever a direct question about the baby is asked of him, he smoothly deflects.
When Juno finally tells her parents that she's pregnant, they uncharacteristically (for a movie) do not yell, throw things, or threaten Paulie. They take it as calmly as possible and vow to love her and support her through it all. This loving support is refreshingly different and only enforces the fact that the movie isn't about Juno getting pregnant - it is about who she becomes in the choices that she makes.
My favorite scene and probably the most tear-worthy is when Vanessa runs into Juno at the mall and asks to feel the baby kick. At first, nothing happens and we see Vanessa visibly deflate. Perhaps she is not mother material no matter how much she wishes otherwise. But when Juno tells her to talk to the baby Vanessa gets on her knees and starts talking to the baby through Juno's engorged belly. The smile on Vanessa's face captures our hearts just as much as it captures Juno's. We know in that instant that Vanessa would be the best parent any child could ever ask for. This moment alone would make the movie a winner but luckily for us there are many more of these little optimistic moments strewn throughout the movie.
The movie stands up to multiple viewings and all these years later I'm still glad I own it on DVD. I give it 5 out of 5 popcorn.