Juno begins with 16-year-old Juno(Ellen Page) retelling the facts of her one-time sexual encounter with best friend Bleeker(Michael Cera) that resulted in pregnancy. The audience is treated with fast paced, smart humor as Juno weighs the different decisions before her, parenting, abortion, or adoption. With support from her family and friends, Juno decides to place her child for adoption after literally running from an abortion clinic. I found Juno to be a smart movie that dealt with teen pregnancy and adoption in a realistic and witty way, but with plenty of tender moments.
Juno has been nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Ellen Page for Best Actress, but there are some among the adoption community who are not too impressed. Coming from all sides of the triad, many are upset by the politically incorrect adoption language and the way adoption is portrayed in the movie in general.
Some adoptive parents have taken issue with the reference made to Chinese adoptions when Juno asked the potential adoptive couple why they didn't adopt from China "...'cause I hear they give away babies like free iPods." While some birth parents feel that Juno got over the placing of her child too easily and seemingly went on like nothing happened.
I take issue with these reviews. Juno is a sharp kid with a double sharp tongue. Her comment about Chinese adoptions was indeed ignorant, but completely not out of character for a 16-year-old. And as for some birth parent's criticism, Juno is a quick glimpse of the adoption process and not a long, term study of the after affects of placing. Let's save that for The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and not Hollywood. Besides I think the movie did touch on the reality of her decisions.
I think Juno is a wonderfully funny movie that has brought adoption and teen pregnancy into the spotlight, and therefore back into our conversation. Let's talk about adoption. How do birth mothers "go on" after placing, or do they? Why is teen pregnancy still such an issue? What's missing in the education of our youth?
Let's take this opportunity to educate the public while the topic is hot.
Juno sported a top-notch cast.
Ellen Page did an awesome job playing the witty and very pregnant, Juno MacGuff. Michael Cera was the lost, not knowing his place in the whole process, father of the baby, Paulie Bleeker.
Jennifer Garner was the nervous, yet excited potential adoptive mother, Vanessa Loring and Jason Bateman was her too cool, guitar playing husband, Mark Loring. This duo was awesome as they explored a relationship that involved two people on different life tracks.
Allison Janney was Juno's supportive, dog loving step-mom, Bren MacGuff and J.K. Simmons played Juno's wonderfully understanding, and equally witty dad, Mac MacGuff.
Olivia Thirlby was Juno's helpful best friend, Leah
To Sum it Up
Juno takes a serious, heavy topic and handles it with humor and does it well. No easy task. The characters are consistent, fully developed, real and interesting. Don't miss Juno.
What do you think? Was Juno a hit or a miss? It's being discussed in the forum now.
Juno came out in 2007 and was written by Diablo Cody and directed by Jason Reitman. Juno is rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content and language.