Idol Chatter

JunoMovie.jpgOnly the hardest of hearts will be immune to “Juno.” Jason Reitman’s latest film about a high school girl named Juno MacGuff who gets pregnant the very first time she has sex with her sweet-natured, timid childhood friend, Paulie Bleeker, is sarcastically funny (though never darkly so), and at times, unexpectedly touching.
Maybe it’s the spot-on soundtrack, filled with the kind of soulful but eccentric-voiced girl-band tunes I listened to back in the day which captured me the moment the lights went dark. Maybe it’s the “Chasing Amy”-style, fast-paced, insightful yet funny yet oddly real and playful dialogue by screenwriter Diablo Cody that got to me and everyone else in the packed-to-the-brim theater where I saw the film. Or maybe it’s the unbelievable, bitter-yet-vulnerable-heart-on-her-sleeve acting by Ellen Page (Juno), who you will forget is actually acting the moment her face hits the screen, not to mention the great supporting cast which includes Michael Cera (Bleeker, aka, the de-flower-er), Allison Janney (remember CJ from “West Wing”?), Jennifer Garner, and J.K. Simmons, among others, that does the trick.
Whatever it is, I assure you that this film will capture you somehow. It will have you laughing and crying and strangely moved by the time the credits roll.

Reitman wastes no time and lands us smack in the middle of Juno’s teen pregnancy crisis–the movie’s very first scene is Juno’s guzzling of a jug of SunnyD so she can take her third pregnancy test of the day. There’s no doubt about it: She’s pregnant, literally seeing the “plus sign” on the stick as a strange, grotesque cross that she must now bear. Initially, Juno simply assumes she will have an abortion. But she soon finds she can’t go through with it. At the clinic Juno is met with every cliché in the book, somehow portrayed with humor and a respectful sensitivity. There is the Christian protester outside, begging her to have the baby; the everywhere-pierced, foul-mouthed, irreverent receptionist; the dank and scary waiting room.
All of these together send Juno running out the door and into what will be some of the most trying, yet most meaningful nine months of her young life.
Juno is going to give her baby up for adoption.
Between Juno’s biting tongue and her family’s supportive, eccentric attitude about their daughter’s unexpected “condition,” there is a wellspring of honest emotion bubbling up throughout this story. There are also some remarks–at-times hilarious, at others touching–about faith in the middle of Juno’s trials: Step Mom’s comment about how some couple is going to find Juno’s predicament a “sweet Jesus miracle,” Juno’s ruminations about how, “like, maybe someone will canonize me, or something,” on behalf of her selfless decision about the baby. She quips that her belly is a “sacred vessel”–a statement made in jest, yet as the movie progresses, it seems apt and beautiful and true for this wondrous, complicated young girl who both falls in sweet, first love and experiences the agony and joy of pregnancy all at once.
When the lights finally went up, nobody moved. We all sat until the very last name rolled by and the very last note still lingered in the speakers.
I already bought the soundtrack. I might go back for a second screening. This is a must-see.

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