Running Time: 91 mins.
Rated: Rated M (teenage pregnancy theme, coarse language).
Smart, sassy, cool and sweet, this is Juno (Ellen Page). And the last thing she had in mind was fertility when she decided to 'do it' with boyfriend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). Set in generic Middle American suburbia, this bitter sweet comedy rides buoyantly over the edge of cliché and farce into something wise and poignant. Its opening scene grooves to an up-beat adolescent vibe, as the track team jogs the side walk, their floppy shorts bulging and swinging, and Juno, ponytail also swinging, marching home from school, all sneakers and jeans, like any other teenager. But she is about to find herself in an altogether unfamiliar neighbourhood.
Characteristically, the next scene is in the Drug Store. There is no sentiment, least of all from the wise cracking guy behind the counter, as Juno holds aloft the Urine sample stick from her third pregnancy test. It is resolutely positive. No need for secrecy in this modern workaday world and once Juno has convinced her cheer leader girl friend Leah that this is for real, they consider her options with an airy and innocent sangfroid. At the same time they remain children - always more vulnerable than they think. Bleeker receives the news stoically but washes his hands of the final decision. Juno visits the local 'Women's Health Clinic' after ringing them on her hamburger shaped phone, 'Hallo, I'd like to procure a hasty abortion', but is repulsed, partly by the crassness of the woman at the desk, but more by the revelation from one of her school friends picketing outside, who tells her, 'It has fingernails already'. Juno decides to just have the baby ('It's only for nine months') and adopt it out to the 'perfect couple'. At the time this seems to be a practical, even a fun solution.
The razor sharp wit of the script, the tough eye in the directing and the honesty and edge to all the actors, particularly Ellen Page, but also the adults, build a muscular story. Juno's parents are coaxed by the Direction to quietly emerge from their initial shock into real, complex and sympathetic supporters of their wayward daughter. The Yuppy couple Leah and Juno finally pick out from the local rag, played by Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman, shudder out of their glacial roles almost immediately.
Meanwhile, in suburbia, the seasons change. Bleeker and his team continue to pound the track; snow melts and spring blossoms. Juno turns, as she describes it, into a 'cautionary whale'. The customary crush by the lockers at school curiously makes way for her; she visits the Ultrasound Clinic where her Stepmother arcs up at the technician's sarcasm, coming just as the wonder of the baby hits the rest of them for the first time. The top of Juno's jeans is cut off and elastic put in. And adolescent Juno finds herself with a new slant on adults. She kind of adopts the adopting couple, who might find themselves with two children not one. Becoming chummy with Mark, who still has much in common with her, more of a boy-man; he is into comics and horror movies, she discovers that the perfect couple does not really exist.
This adolescent movie now hits the sharp corners. While Juno disdains sterile adult phrases like 'sexually active'