Friday, February 22, 2008



Here's another surprise (or, sleeper) of a delightful little comedy that garnered four Oscar nominations : best picture, director-Jason Reitman ("Thank You for Smoking"), actress- Ellen Page ("Hard Candy"), and original screenplay--Diablo Cody).

Juno is courageously idiosyncratic. Neither I nor my friends in high school could boast the kind of poise, level of quips and sarcasm, or the equanimity that Juno can. But we had heard of birth control. This is an entertaining film for adults but most of the struggle of a teen in this situation was far too subtle and adumbrated by the glib humor. I would definitely heed the PG-13 warning and not allow pre-teens to see this movie. Even with older teens, I would then discuss the content.

For all the luminosity of Ellen Page, I found myself most enamored of her down to earth, HONEST-with-themselves parents. The most poignant moment was when Juno, in contrast to the teens who know-it-all, admits, "I don't really know what kind of girl I am." Some thought Jennifer Garner as the perspective adoptive mother Vanessa was moving as she talked to the fetus through Juno's abdominal wall. I was more impressed with her more realistic portrayal of a first time mother, painfully awkward and unsure of her self. I might have been reluctant to choose an adoptive mom who was so rigid and seemingly up-tight and proper. Perhaps Juno thought Vanessa a welcome contrast to her own biologic mother, who seemed a bit eccentric and clueless, sending cactus as a gift year after year.

I liked the honest portrayal of girls, too, being interested and curious about sex, no Persephone having to be kidnapped to be sexual. I just don't understand why the movie did not allow for better understanding of the motives behind two smart teens, who know where babies come from, doing something so cavalierly. The matter of fact way they handled the outcome was a bit eerie. But I guess any difficult situation is fair game for humor. And I laughed a lot at this movie. I was just surprised about all the nominations.

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