As with most movies from the 2007 era that I haven’t seen, I went into Juno with low expectations. And I am happy to say that I once again came away pleasantly surprised. Don’t get me wrong, the film has problems, but it also has a lot of character. Much like an old car that doesn’t work properly that you can’t bear to part with.
Juno follows Juno, played by Ellen Page, through her unplanned pregnancy. The film is relatively low key, rather chill, and left me waiting for something to go horribly, horribly wrong. The best comparison I can make is that the film feels like a co-op board game, where all players are working towards a common goal.
The film also stars awkward yet genuine, Michael Cera. Don’t get me wrong, I love Cera’s work, but half the time I see him on screen he looks like a rabbit ready to bolt the instant something spooks him. I have similar thoughts about Jason Bateman. In this film Bateman plays a “hasn’t grown up yet” husband who is probably the closest thing this movie has to a villian. I’m sure he’s a nice guy IRL, but I have trouble trusting him on screen.
One of the reasons this movie felt dramatic to me was that I never really knew what the characters were thinking. With the exception of J.K. Simmons, the confused, dazed, or possibly thoughtful expressions of the actors as they worked through awkward interchanges really made me think about their motives. The dialogue, on the other hand, I felt was fantastic. It felt very natural and was filled with lots of slang, the kind of which I assume the cool kids were using in 2007, but has never quite made it into my personal lexicon.
Though the topic of the film walks the line of uncomfortableness, there’s a lot of humor that isn’t derived from the sometimes awkward subject matter. I will admit that more than once I had to stop the DVD and skip back, looking for a hidden reference or joke I thought I saw fly by. The bedroom sets are spectacularly dressed and the visual humor of the initial trip to the suburbs is wonderful.
My biggest complaint with the film is the Moldy Peaches. I’m not a big fan of the Moldy Peaches. I don’t like them in my kitchen, I don’t like them in my iTunes, and I don’t really care for them in my movies. Which leaves me torn, because in a way, their style does fit the film, but I found them to be distracting. The Moldy Peaches have a raw sound which fits with the aesthetic of the rest of the movie, however, their clever stream of metaphoric lyrics is a lot to process when also trying to take in the rich environments on set.
Juno is not groundbreaking, rather it’s a refreshing change of pace from many of the other over the top dramas. Does it hold up 10 years later? I would say yes. For the most part this film withstands the test of time quite well and might be worth a watch when you need a break from fast action thrillers.