Juno English Movie

Feature Film | 2007
Mar 14, 2008 By Sevanand Gaddala

It managed to snag four major Oscar nominations, including the Best Picture, and ended up wining the Best Original Screenplay.

But what is truly impressive about "Juno" is that it is a small movie, and though it takes on a grand theme of an issue like child pregnancy, the movie manages to be breezy, refreshing and at times very touching.

Director Jason Rietman understands that the script by Diablo Cody, a stripper- turned scriptwriter, is the strong point of the movie, which is served with snappy, witty dialogue.

He has also been blessed with a great cast, none of whom tried too hard and realised that they were to serve the story.

Juno (Ellen Page) is a smart 16-year-old girl, who gets pregnant when she has sex with her best friend Paulie (Michael Cera). She initially decides to have an abortion but chickens out and looks for a well-off couple seeking to adopt her child. She befriends the couple but things change drastically and she finds herself in situations where she is required to be too mature for her age.

For those viewers who have strong opinions about values and cultural norms, watching a pretentious teen going through a serious life situation using flip remarks and pop culture references can be unsettling.

But the dialogue is clearly one of the most entertaining aspects of the movie. The banter among characters seems spontaneous, and the use of irony as a defence mechanism seems apt.

The actors have great material to work with. J.K. Simmons and Alisson Janney play very supportive and understanding parents that any teen would love to have. Justin Bateman and Jennifer Garner play the young and rich couple seeking to adopt a child.

Along with Page being the find of the movie, Garner with her restrained performance is quite a pleasant surprise. She shares a very touching scene with Page at the mall, which is easily one of the most memorable scenes.

The first quarter of the movie sets itself up and looks like it will walk down the familiar path of cliché platitudes and uplifting fare. Even the snappy dialogues in the first twenty minutes or so threaten to become irritating.

But once Juno visits the couple, the movie manages to evoke more emotions and pays respect to the complexity and pain involved in such a situation.

The comic aspect of the movie makes it seems like it is skirting some very serious issues, but scenes like Juno taking a break on the side of the road just to weep show that the movie understands her plight.

The movie avoids getting itself entangled in some potentially divisive issues like abortion, adoption and teenage sexuality.

The themes are so divisive that it will be interesting to see how viewers from different cultures like India will receive this film. The fact that the movie doesn't take a clear stand, let alone hit you on the head with a message, makes it easier to embrace.

It seeks to please, not to preach.

Sevanand Gaddala