Juno

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Year: 2007

Writer: diablo cody

Director: Jason Reitman

Budget: ?

Gross: $525 155 (as of december 9th, 2007)

Juno is the story of a 16-year-old girl, named Juno (what a coincidence) who gets pregnant and decides to have the child and give it up for adoption.

ya, i know, it sounds like a bad after school special, but in the hands of screenwriter diablo cody and director jason reitman, it is a great comedy and one of the best films of the year.

reitman's first full-length feature, which he premiered at sundance a couple years ago, was Thank You For Smoking, which i enjoyed, but with Juno he has gotten that much better.

in Thank You For Smoking reitman didn't so much set out to take on the tobacco industry as to just put it out there without taking sides - or at least that is what i kept hearing him say in interviews.  if i remember correctly, he would claim a libertarian stance on the issue and state that the film wasn't trying to send a message either way.  with Juno, he seems to be taking the same approach, but it just works so much better.

in Thank You For Smoking, whether he is taking sides or not, it did seem, to me at least, that the tobacco industry was the butt of the joke (pun kind of intended).  now, maybe that is because of my personal biases, or because it is pretty much impossible to talk about big tobacco in a positive light anyway.  however, with Juno, rietman and cody have completely avoided the after school special message thing and just made a film about a girl who gets pregnant.  and a very funny film, at that.

ellen page is brilliant as Juno, and if she doesn't get an oscar nod it will be a big miss on the part of the academy.  Juno is one very sarcastic kid and page nails this part easy.  the hard part is getting the kid/adult thing down, but she does it no problem. 

in one scene, she comes home and her dad asks her where she has been and she says, "out dealing with issues way beyond my maturity level.'  that hits the nail right on the head.  for the first half of the film you almost forget she is just 16.  the way she is so pretty relaxed about the whole thing and matter-of-fact about it with her sarcastic tone.  however, as the film progresses, she starts to have to deal with the reality of it all and it is in those moments when you see the 16-year-old brake through that mature facade.

there is something about the film in its structure, specific dialogue and use of music that reminded me of wes anderson.  however, while wes seems to have gotten bogged down in his own style for his last few films, reitman has a great voice and ellen page was the perfect mouthpiece.

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