Dave and Rachel's movie reviews.


Wednesday, February 18, 2015


Year: 2007
Running time: 96 minutes
Certificate: 15
Language: English
Screenplay: Diablo Cody
Director: Jason Reitman
Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons, Olivia Thirlby

Ellen Page is very impressive as the quick-witted Juno.
When Juno was first released it became the little indie film that could, with positive word of mouth helping it to break into the mainstream consciousness. It’s not hard to see why, with wittily sharp dialogue and impressive performances all round, particularly Ellen Page, who gives the title character a depth that is slowly revealed as the film goes on.

After having sex once with her best friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), 16 year-old Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) finds herself pregnant. Imbued with a sarcastic wit and fierce intelligence, thanks to a remarkable debut script from Diablo Cody, Juno refuses to become just another teenage pregnancy statistic, and instead researches and carefully considers her options, and after an aborted visit to an abortion clinic, she decides to have the baby and give it up for adoption. She finds and contacts a couple herself and comes to an agreement with them. By the time she tells her father Mac (J.K. Simmons) and stepmother Bren (Allison Janney), she's already got it all planned out.

Of course, nothing is ever that simple. The would-be adoptive parents Vanessa and Mark Loring (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) run into marital problems stemming from the fact that Mark hasn't ever really given up on his adolescent dreams of being a rock star and doesn't particularly want a child.
For all its sarcasm and wit, Juno's true power lies in its characters, who you
will come to love.

It feels genuinely original in its portrayal of a pregnant teen, showing her as intelligent and fully able to sort her problems out for herself, and the lack of stereotyping in this regard is extremely refreshing. The most surprising thing in this film for me however is Jennifer Garner, who, it has to be said, I’m not exactly a fan of. Here I finally saw that she is a fine actress in the right role, playing a woman quietly desperate for a child of her own with a touching and understated skill I’ve never seen in her before.

When Juno makes the decision to go ahead with the adoption even though Vanessa will be a single mom it's a happy ending as cleverly unexpected as the rest of the film. After watching this, you find yourself wishing that the subjects of abortion, adoption and teenage pregnancy could be approached with the same intelligence and empathy by everyone.

Consistently circumventing expectations, Juno tackles a well-worn subject in a new and refreshing way.

Score: 7/10

The excellent performances and even better writing are rightly celebrated in other reviews, such as this one by A.O. Scott at the New York Times and this one by Roger Ebert.