Juno – Review

Here’s another little movie which I just saw and which I really liked.

It’s new out on DVD in this neck of the woods so that means it’s probably available everywhere now.

‘Juno’ tells the story of a quirky and charming teenage girl who becomes pregnant and decides to see the pregnancy through despite some opposition from predictable sources and some support from more surprising sources.

It’s a funny, clever, warm little film and I enjoyed it very much indeed.

As is now customary with my reviews, I feel obliged to give you all a warning-or-two as to why you might not enjoy it as much as I did.

Reason 1: It is quite a ‘Young’ film. I had heard great things about it, rented it, and fifteen minutes in, I was saying, “This is good but it’s a teen movie, I’ve rented a teen-movie and I’m forty-four years old and my wife (younger and prettier) will kill me in a minute…”. The sassiness and the pop-references and (damn!) the inescapable Youth of the leads might make you feel it’s not the movie for you.

Reason 2: It’s… just… very… ‘American’. Now, I like that!! Many of my favourite books and an absolute shed-load load of my fave movies are unabashedly American and I make no apologies for it.

I just think it’s worth pointing this 'American' thing out, particularly in conjunction with Reason 1 above. You see, the juxtaposition of ‘Young’ and ‘American’ descriptors for a modern movie raises images of ‘John Hughes’, ‘Breakfast Clubs’, ‘Ferris Thingie’ and even, God help us, ‘Clueless’.

These comparisons may well put certain potential movie-renters off.Indeed, at times, ‘Juno’ can be slightly-reminiscent of some of these teen angst masterpieces.

But, if you can manage to get yourself over my reasons 1 and 2, I think there’s a good chance that you may really enjoy ‘Juno’.

It is very sharply written and the girl who plays ‘Juno’ is simply wonderful, as is her Dad and her boyfriend and… well there’s just a lot of good performances in here.

It’s funny, it’s human, it’s warm…

But the thing that really won me over is how it reverses the expectations raised by some of its characters.

You know how you see someone in a film and you just know what they will be like and how they will act? Well I drew these sort of conclusions as this little movie unfolded and it confounded me in several respects.

It was smarter than I was and I like that a lot.

Finally, there’s a nice hint of truth about the way ‘Juno’ resolves itself. The actions of the characters always seem somehow grounded in reality.

So anyone for small-scale American teen movie?

If you can get over any qualms you might have, I think you might be in for a nice surprise.

PS: Jane, a fellow-blogger who's posts I admire, has just posted a passionate and obviously heartfelt reply to my review of this film. You can read it by clicking here. I think it is very good and I recommend you consider it before swanning off to rent this movie on the basis of my naive word alone.


hope said...

I wasn't really sure about this one and had passed it by for the very reason you stated: youth/teen angst. But I think you've won me over.

Ironically, my last DVD experience was "P.S. I Love You" staring Scotsman Gerard Butler playing [gasp] an Irishman! :) Then again, American actor Jeffrey Dean Morgan played an Irishman too but I swear his accent was more convincing. In an interview I saw, even his cast mates teased him about his Scottish sounding Irish brogue.

Only warning, it will be viewed as a "Chick Flick" by some. Actually it's just a sweet story of love beyond death...and how to move on when you're ready.

Gee, maybe you should do movie reviews every week...we can vote to see where our hard earned money should be spent.

Matthew S. Urdan said...

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Rachel Fox said...

A very American film can be better than a very English film...see mention of 'Love, dreadfully' (fiendish's blog..the other day)...and I'm English so I can say that without prejudice! That dreadful film even made it to a poem...
'Got the Bridget Jones, Love Actually, Four Weddings blues'...it's on the website under Modern World.
Looking forward to seeing 'Juno'...some months (if not years) after everyone else!

Jena Isle said...

These types of movies can be relaxing. Based on your review, it sounds like the Cinderella Story...A teen love story. Light drama and simple story line with some suspense.

There is one, not so recent American movie entitled : "The Notebook". It would be a good one for older people...a little older -but not so old..(-:..

Thanks for sharing.

CelloBella said...

I've heard a lot of good things about this film and nothing bad so thanks for the reminder to go and see it.

Or rather get it out on DVD.


Ken Armstrong said...

Just in case you think I always like every movie I see... I rented a new DVD last night called 'Jumper'. I know, I know but I have to watch the ratings because my 12 year old son watches with me on a Friday evening.

Anyway, this was *easily* one of the worst films I have ever seen in my entire life - quite unbelievable, given the level of talent involved.

Hi Hope: 'PS I Love You' gets a hard time here in Ireland, not least because it was written by the ex-Prime Minister's daughter.

When I heard the level of criticism her book was initially getting here, I reviled us all as a nation of begrudgers, got the book and read it myself, fully intending to like it and champion its cause.

Guess what? I *hated* it. Wish I could say otherwise.

I hear the movie is nice in a 'cheek fleek' sort of a way - a kind of 'Sex and the City' without the sex and the city. :)

Rachel: You can't hate me just cos I stood up for one segment of 'Love Actually', it's not sufficient evidence to build an animosity on. Besides (I'll admit it) I fancied Ms Knightley in it and that sort of carried me along.

Jen: I hear 'The Notebook' is one of the great modern weepies. I'd like to see it, "Make me cry, I dare ya, I double dare ya!!".

Cellobella - congrats on 1000+ posts - what a blogger you are!

Ana said...

Actually the movie sounded quite interesting how you introduced it. Also as I would not have a problem with reason 1 ;-)

Dave King said...

I don't get to the films a great deal, but I'll make an exception if I get the chance to see this one.

CelloBella said...

It's not out on DVD in Australia til next month.

CelloBella said...

PS I loved Love Actually.

Henson Ray said...

I loved this movie as well. Saw it when I was on vacation in London, and didn't have anything to do one night. I found myself totally captivated by the performances and the warmth of the story. So well done, well acted, and very funny. One of my favorite movies of the last year.

hope said...

Hmmm...maybe I just found the movie interesting because of Gerard Butler and Jeffrey Dean Morgan. ;)

Thanks for the warning on "Jumper". So many times the trailers are more interesting than the movie....or reflect the entire movie in 60 seconds.

Do you think there are any original concepts left for movie making? Some of highly acclaimed American films are often remakes of "foreign" films.

If you were in charge of the film Ken, what would it be about?

Rachel Fox said...

No I don't hate you, Ken...not yet! I think maybe those Richard Curtis type films are less annoying if you're not English. I find them excruciating! That picture postcard England - all snow and cricket and people saying 'facking hell, darling, just buy another county' - makes me want to pack my bags and run for the hills (oh, already did that). Phew.

Anonymous said...

Damn! I was duped into coming here through the promise of ultra-graphic pics of EC taking your virginity! LIAR!

Not that I wanted to see these pics..... damn

Canucklehead said...

I hate to say it -- but I have to tell you that almost everything about the movie is quite Canadian ... the director, the lead actress ... it was only a few things that kept it out of the Canadian movie of the year. Regardless, I could not agree more, a quite enjoyable film. Cheers!

Ken Armstrong said...

Hi Canucklehead, glad to hear from you! Of course you are *so* right. This embarrassing mistake is on account of my new policy of telling how I feel about a movie rather than going to the trouble of researching any facts. :)

Anyway, don't you reckon it was at least pretending to be set in America to fool Irish people like me?

Rachel: Just sent me her remarkable new poetry book (don't get huffy, I bought it) and I want her to be my friend 'cos it's a great book and I'm gonna write a thing about it soon.

Hope: If I made a movie it would be about... 90 minutes. :) Naw, seriously, it seems I may get a shot at having my first (short) film made in 2009. Watch this space (well.. the whole blog really... not just this little space...)

Henson, dude, you have good taste.

Cellobella: you have *got* to get together with Rachel on this 'Love Actually thing'. One feels there is room for genuine debate there!

Lee Doyle: Was indeed induced here on a false promise. Sorry dude but I need traffic, do you hear, TRAFFIC!!

Ana: Good luck with everything, I'll be watching your progress with interest and confidence in a great outcome. Reason A didn't bother me either... but don't tell anyone.

Anonymous said...

I liked Juno simply because of Ellen Page. She is a character in herself and a lot of the sarcasm came from her delivery of the lines.

As for Jumper, something was missing, the story was sketchy and the ending was horrible, so good call there.

Kat Mortensen said...

Hi Ken,

I haven't seen this, but intend to. Ellen Page is in one of my favourite movies - Marion Bridge. It takes place just down the road from where my mother's side of the family reside in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia.

Btw, I've tagged you (hope you don't mind) for a music meme. Check out my blog for details.



Anonymous said...


Why didn't I see this before

I just sent you an amazing email.

Now I feel ill.

Juno is everything I HATE About the misconception of adoption.
Adoption is NOT all hearts and flowers
Adoption SUCKS
But until you are an adoptee or a mother who relinquished her child then you will never ever understand
I'm sorry for all those who commented stating how great this movie was

You have NO idea NONE

It was written in a few weeks and so not researched. Its sending the wrong message out to people who have NO clue about adoption

It really REALLY isnt like that in the REAL World of adoption - its just not that hearts and flowers

Sigh :(

Ken Armstrong said...

Hi Jane, thanks for sharing your reaction to this.

Sure I liked 'Juno', but no 'shame' for me there I'm afraid.

You see, I'm not emotionally invested in the subject matter in the way you are.

This is probably a poor analogy but here goes anyway - I once put my arm through a window pane and got really badly hurt, stitches etc. Now when I see someone sail through a sugar-glass window in a movie, I say 'Yeah sure, try that for real and see how it tickles'.

I've become emotionally-invested in the broken glass.

But maybe broken glass doesn't effect you in this way. That's cool, there's no 'shame' involved.

I hope this explains a little, no hurt intended.

Anonymous said...

Hey! I liked the Breakfast Club, Ferris Day Out, and Clueless. But I am American. Maybe that's why. Or maybe it's because in some ways I never grew up.

Kimmie said...

Its funny, its human, its warm.

Very descriptive words, I like them. I do believe I will rent this movie now, especially because you used the word "warm". You got my attention with that.
Thanks Ken,

Ken Armstrong said...

Hi Kimmie (et al)

Perhaps have a look at Jane's newest post before rushing out to rent this one.

'Juno Strikes Again'

Kimmie said...

Oh goodness, Jane is upset, and I can understand where she is coming from. I will pray for her to find peace with all the hurt that she feels inside her heart.

As to whether I will rent the movie, that is up in the air now...perhaps not.

Thank You Ken for the comment to read Jane's comment regarding the movie.