Friday, February 15, 2008

JUNO

JUNO
Ellen Page, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Michael Cera, Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons, Olivia Thirlby


"A comedy about growing up ... and the bumps along the way"


Cinema 2, SM Megamall



Juno is a feisty young girl.

Juno is witty.

Juno has an eclectic taste in music.

Juno is 16.

Juno is pregnant!

Juno is also quite mature for her young age with a good head on her shoulders. She handles this setback on her own merit. Give or take a few hitches along the way, she manages to deal with the situation .

Now whether or not this film highlights, condones or even makes light of teenage pregnancy is not the point. It is the story of a young girl (named after a character in Greek/Roman mythology (the wife of Zeus) and not the town in Alaska) who maturely solves her 'problem'. Some would say she was rather emotion less and quite stoic but I'd say, she was being very practical. She was lucky her support system was pretty solid and they didn't react in a hysterical manner. In fact, I found them really cool in an independent not indifferent way.

The film starts with Juno's narrative of the events leading to her pregnancy. An animated sequence shows the opening credits to the tune of a catchy song. The story unfolds as we are introduced to the interesting characters. The dialogue is fast paced with whimsical, witty lines. All delivered in a distinct style that reminds me of the dialogue in "Gilmore Girls". It was peppered with a variety of songs that somehow didn't sit too well for me. I just got this sense that they went overboard by bombarding the film with cutesy tunes and grungy music to add some whimsical factor to the film. They overindulged in that department. Naturally, a crisis/conflict arises midway for some dramatic effect. Yet the film still manages to end with a pleasant feeling that everyone and everything is back to normal in their own little world.

Ellen Page fits the role of Juno to a T. Her overall aura of girlish charm disguises the fact that she is well tuned and quite witty in her own right. She is atypical young girl a bit off in her musical tastes as well as her outlook in life. Veering towards piercing sarcasm and practicality as opposed to idealistic tendencies. But deep inside she is still a young girl growing up in her own little world who just wants to be loved for who she is. That task surely takes a lot of effort, I'd say. The rest of the cast help in their subtle portrayal of their supporting yet still relevant roles. Although I didn't sense much chemistry between the adoptive parents but in essence it was meant to show they aren't the picture perfect married couple.

It is a pity there were only a handful of people in the theater. I'm guessing people tend to stay clear of a movie that seems to highlight teenage pregnancy, but they are wrong. It has a well written plot with interesting characters and well it just happens to deal with a heavy subject matter. Just be open minded and learn to appreciate a unique story, once in a while. It is worth it.
Juno is worth it!

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