Having not seen a new movie in two months, I downloaded Juno and we watched it last night. As anybody who’s seen it knows, it’s terrific–charming, witty and moving.
It actually has a really ordinary story (see also “Degrassi Junior High” and Saved, for starters), but it’s elevated to greatness by a superb ensemble, witty writing and great direction. I’m a big Ellen Page booster, but director Jason Reitman has made his job much easier by gathering a really terrific, empathetic cast. Everybody else has earned deserved acclaim, but I often think that Jennifer Garner is a better actor than she’s given credit for. Her looks and her history on Alias kind of gets in the way, I think. There’s a scene in which she and her husband discuss preparing the baby’s room which is beautifully acted with a lovely subtlety.
Combine the cast with great dialogue like this:
Leah: Yo Yo Yiggady Yo.
Juno MacGuff: I’m pregnant.
Leah: What? Honest to blog? Are you sure it’s not a food baby? Did you eat a big lunch?
Juno MacGuff: This is not a food baby all right? I’ve taken like three pregnancy tests, and I’m forshizz up the spout.
Leah: How did you even generate enough pee for three pregnancy tests?
Juno MacGuff: T don’t know, I drank like, ten gallons of Sunny D… I’m telling you I’m pregnant and you’re acting shockingly caviler.
Leah: Is this for real?
Juno MacGuff: Unfortunately, yes.
Leah: Oh my GOD. Shit! Phuket, Thailand!
I really enjoyed Reitman’s previous effort, Thank You for Smoking, and this was a very worthwhile follow-up. My only complaints: Jason Bateman’s character was kind of a modern cinematic cliche, Kinya Dawson’s music was too present and I didn’t think the finally scene struck the right note. These are minor quibbles, though. I’d recommend this movie to anybody with a pulse and a command of English.
I vaguely know the spouse of somebody involved in this film, so I feel a little guilty about downloading it. I’m going to make a donation to the Canadian Federation for Sexual Health to assuage my guilt.