Sunday, October 4, 2009

Movie Reviews: Juno

I must be one of the last three people in the USA who hadn't seen Juno - it was an indie hit when it came out in 2007. It'd been on my list pretty much since it came out, too, and even in my Netflix queue. However, if you could see that queue you'd see how heavily tilted towards TV-on-DVD it is, and most days given the choice I'd way rather watch two episodes of commercial-free TV than a 90-minute movie. So Juno kept getting shuffled farther and farther down the list.

So last week I was talking about movies with a library patron and she asked about Juno. I told her what the general consensus had been - it got like a 93% positive score on the Tomatometer at - but I had to say I hadn't seen it myself. So I checked out a copy.

Last night I finally got around to watching it. In fact, I watched it twice through, plus all the Bonus Features except the commentary track (that's my plan for tonight). [Actually, this is one of the reasons I don't watch movies that often. Rather than a single 90-minute commitment I usually end up watching them more than once, especially if there's a commentary track, which I am a sucker for. So the darn things suck up three or four hours minimum and that's hard to fit into my overcrowded schedule.]

Without saying too much about it for the other two people who haven't seen the movie yet, it is about a teen pregnancy, and it certainly earned its PG-13 via crude language and crude verbal imagery. But I really loved the wit and spark of the script, and the characters were overwhelmingly sympathetic and believable (though they had the usual movie-character ability to think of and say things in the quirky, interesting and funny way I can only rarely manage in real life). A couple of times I thought they were going to take it in a very very very bad direction, but they didn't go there.

As a Catholic, it would be a mistake to describe Juno as a "pro-life" movie. That makes it sound like a message picture and that's definitely not the case. But it shows Juno, having made one bad decision (well, a couple), proceed to make several very good ones, and I love the way 1) Juno never for a minute thinks that at sixteen she's ready to be a mom, and neither do the people around her and 2) the way adoption actually gets positive press. This is a topic rather dear to my own heart, so yay Juno!

The three main actresses, Ellen Page as Juno, Jennifer Garner as Vanessa and Allison Janney as Bren, are all wonderful. Ellen Page carries the movie, of course, but Bren gets some marvelous lines. As for Jennifer Garner, because she's playing a rather uptight character her face looks severe in most of her scenes. Then the couple of times she throws a full-on smile at the camera, whoa Jackie! you just about fall over with the beauty of it.

Not for the easily offended, but I loved this movie. Read real reviews at and! Oh, and on the insightful Church of the Masses blog too!

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