Released on Dec. 5, 2007, director Jason Reitman’s film “Juno” follows the troubles and turmoils that 16-year-old Juno MacGuff endures after finding out she is pregnant. Formerly Ellen Page, now Elliot Page, delivers a hilarious portrayal of the precocious and awkward teenager. It was a box office success grossing over $234.1 million and received acclaim from critics, many of whom placed the film at number one for the year in 2007.
The film was nominated for three Academy Awards and won the award for Best Original Screenplay, which it deserves for its contagiously quotable scenes. What makes this film special is the honest depiction of teenagers and the aura of societal disprovement surrounding teenage pregnancies that is thematic in this coming-of-age comedy-drama film.
J.K. Simmons, known for his stoic and angry characters, played MacGuff’s optimistic and stark father who gave his full support during her pregnancy. It was a surprising change of character for Simmons to play and it would be interesting to see him play more roles like this in other movies. Alison Janney plays MacGuff’s stepmother, but Janney breaks apart the “evil” stepmother trope and plays a mother that wants to be a part of her daughter’s life. Finally, it wouldn’t be a 2000s teenage film without Michael Cera, who plays the father of MacGuff’s baby. It may seem like a weird choice to cast Cera, but it’s arguably his body language and dialogue that captures the awkward high school student perfectly.
The film’s soundtrack stands out from other films in the coming-of-age genre. The indie music chosen throughout the movie sounds like it’s coming from MacGuff’s personal soundtrack. We follow her along in her journey as she tries to make sense of pregnancy as a teen, and the music helps the audience follow her. It’s the perfect music choice in the sense that it’s who she is and she isn’t ashamed of that.
One of the scenes that received the most criticism is when MacGuff walks into an abortion clinic at the beginning of the film. She runs into a classmate protesting outside the clinic who informs her that her baby at seven weeks has fingernails. She ignores her comment and walks into the clinic. However, the comment resonated with her more than she initially thought, causing her to walk out of the clinic. After learning that her baby already has fingernails, she decides to place the baby up for adoption instead of terminating her pregnancy. It’s a humorous and obscure approach towards anti-abortion.
As the film and pregnancy progresses, MacGuff is given weird looks from the public and her peers. The film projects this awkward and uncomfortable atmosphere onto the audience.
MacGuff finds a couple to adopt her baby, but they are far from perfect, which she soon finds out after they break up. She wanted the perfect couple, but in the climax of the film she realizes that something “perfect” might not exist.
“Juno” is the perfect film for a late night movie watch with friends or family. It has moments of laughter and tears that makes the audience feel connected to the zany characters. Take caution, however, because this movie is contagious. It will make you want to watch it over and over again for the silly one-liners and lovable characteristics.