Anthony's Film Review

Juno (2007)

Ellen Page plays a likable pregnant teenager in this simple comedy film...

In reality, teen pregnancy is something that no one should have to deal with. Society has such a strong view of the issue that many people tend to advocate messages about avoiding teen pregnancy and not glamorizing it on television and in the movies. Interestingly enough, the 2007 comedy film Juno, directed by Jason Reitman, centers on teen pregnancy without, in my opinion, directly suggesting that getting pregnant as a girl under 18 years of age is cool. In fact, it doesn't even take an obvious negative stance on teen pregnancy. All the movie does is chronicle a young girl's nine months in her adolescent life. (Note: Some people may disagree and say that the film Juno does glamorize teen pregnancy because it makes it look fairly easy to go through. I respect such opinions and will not object to them.)

The one positive thing about the film is the title character. Juno MacGuff, played by Ellen Page, may have made an unwise choice to have sex with her boyfriend Paulie Bleeker, played by Michael Cera, but she's not a significantly uncaring and irresponsible girl. She is at least emotionally mature such that she doesn't panic, instead thinking of solutions to her problem. She's also funny with the sarcastic remarks that she makes here and there. Basically, compared to other teenage girls, Juno is someone whom you can't help but love, even with her decision to have unprotected sex.

So after Juno confirms her pregnancy and briefly considers an abortion, she decides to look for couples who are seeking children for adoption. Juno finds one such couple: Mark and Vanessa Loring, played respectively by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner. This married couple seems like a very nice pair and definitely willing to adopt Juno's child. Juno feels good about this, because it'll solve her own problem while satisfying the wishes of others.

The movie is really just a series of moments in life during Juno's pregnancy. She talks with classmates at school who know about her new child. She converses with her parents, Mac and Bren MacGuff, played respectively by J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney. As for her boyfriend Paulie, he is initially a bit shocked when Juno breaks the news of her pregnancy, but he's ultimately accepting of whatever Juno decides to do. In my opinion, he's just as likable as Juno.

The kind of movie that I usually consider great is one where the main character undergoes some kind of transformation for the better and where there is a real central conflict for the character to overcome. In Juno, however, the main character's issue of pregnancy doesn't seem like a major conflict, and while she does discover something about her feelings for Paulie, she's mostly the same character at the end of the movie as in the beginning. As a result, I consider Juno just an OK movie. But at least Ellen Page brings to life a character who is interesting to follow on screen.

Anthony's Rating:

For more information about Juno, visit the Internet Movie Database.


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