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Juno (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

Juno

JUNO (2007)

Starring Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, JK Simmons, Olivia Thirlby, Rainn Wilson, Lucas MacFadden, Daniel Clark, Valerie Tian, Ashley Whillans, Candice Accola, Steven Christopher Parker, Kaaren de Zilva and Sierra Pitkin.

Screenplay by Diablo Cody.

Directed by Jason Reitman.

Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures. 92 minutes. Rated PG-13.

Sometimes you see a movie that is so real, funny, insightful and heartfelt that you just want to give everyone on the screen a big hug. Juno is one of those films.

That is not to say it is sappy. On the contrary, most of the characters of Juno are hip, sarcastic and oh so smart. However, it is almost impossible not to fall in love with each and every one of them.

The storyline itself doesn’t fairly hint at the quirky wonders of the film – a sixteen-year-old semi-outcast girl becomes pregnant while experimenting with sex and decides to give the baby up for adoption.

Before you pull out your moral majority high horse, know that Juno may very well be the most family-valued film of 2007. For it is truly about love and sacrifice and familial acceptance. Don’t let the cynical post-modern veneer fool you – this is at heart an old-fashioned look at love and family.

Ellen Page – who was stunning and arresting in a totally different way in Hard Candy – makes an indelible impression here in the title role. Merely 20 years old and small of stature – still this role seems like it has a touch of destiny to it… the coronation of one of the next great talents.

Her sorta-boyfriend is played by Michael Cera, who between this role and his past triumphs in the film Superbad and the cult-fave TV series Arrested Development has proved that he is perfect at playing the shy, confused adolescent. I don’t know if he is really this insecure or if he has just nailed teen angst — either way he is spot on and I look forward to seeing what he does next.

They are surrounded by pitch-perfect supporting characters – Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner as the yuppie couple who don’t seem to completely see eye to eye about the adoption, JK Simmons and Allison Janney as Juno’s realistic and nuanced parents and Olivia Thirlby as her cheerleader best friend.

Juno does not hit a false note or make a single clichéd move. It is funny, sad, heartfelt, confusing, arch, contradictory and touching.

Just like real life.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2007 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: December 25, 2007.

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