Juno (2007) - Rotten Tomatoes

Juno (2007)

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AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: One of the brightest, funniest comedies of the year, Juno's smart script and direction are matched by assured performances in a coming of age story with a 21st century twist.

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When a teenage girl is faced with an unexpected pregnancy, she enlists the aid of her best friend in finding the unborn child a suitable home in this coming-of-age comedy drama from Thank You for Smoking director Jason Reitman. Juno (Ellen Page) may seem wise beyond her years, but after sleeping with classmate Bleeker (Michael Cera), the pregnant teen quickly realizes how little she really knows about life. Thankfully, Juno has been blessed with parents (J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney) who trust their daughter's judgment, and a best friend named Leah (Olivia Thirlby), who's always willing to help out in a pinch. With a little help from Leah, Juno soon comes into contact with Mark (Jason Bateman) and Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) -- an affluent suburban couple who have been unable to conceive a child of their own. Mark and Vanessa seem like they would make great parents, and are eager to adopt Juno's unborn child. Now, as adolescent Juno is faced with a series of very adult decisions, she will draw on the support of her family and friends in order to discover who she truly is, and discover that one bad choice can have a lifetime of consequences. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
Rating:
PG-13 (for mature thematic material, sexual content and language)
Genre:
Comedy , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Box Office:
$143,380,890.00
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

Ellen Page
as Juno MacGuff
Michael Cera
as Paulie Bleeker
Jennifer Garner
as Vanessa Loring
Jason Bateman
as Mark Loring
J.K. Simmons
as Mac MacGuff
Eileen Pedde
as Gerta Rauss
Steve Rendazzo
as Daniel Clark
Darla Vandenbossche
as Bleeker's Mom
Aman Johal
as Vijay
Valerie Tian
as Su-Chin
Emily Perkins
as Punk Receptionist
Kaaren de Zilva
as Ultrasound Technician
Allison Janney
as Bren MacGuff
Steven Christopher Parker
as Guy Lab Partner
Candice Accola
as Girl Lab Partner
Sierra Pitkin
as Liberty Bell
Cut Chemist
as Chemistry Teacher
Eve Harlow
as Tough Girl
Emily Tennant
as Pretty-to-Goth Girl
Ashley Whillans
as Katrina De Voort
Jeff Witzke
as Tack Announcer
Peggy Logan
as Sex Ed Teacher
Cameron Bright
as RPG Nerd
Wendy Russell
as Vanessa's Friend No. 1
Robyn Ross
as Vanessa's Friend No. 2
Joy Galmut
as Delivery Room Doctor
Brandon Barton
as Dancing Elk Track Team
Josephine Reitman
as kids smile photo
Oliver Gorin
as kids smile photo
Ethan Steelberg
as kids smile photo
Matthew Sanders
as ultrasound baby
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News & Interviews for Juno

Critic Reviews for Juno

All Critics (207) | Top Critics (44)

Screenwriter Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman make Juno the marvelously un-still center of a wistfully acerbic comedy that qualifies as a feminized version of Knocked Up.

Full Review… | October 18, 2008
NPR.org
Top Critic

Fierce without being cruel, sweet without becoming saccharine, and never short of hilarious, it's not only the best comedy of the year, but one of the best films, period.

Full Review… | September 18, 2008
The New Republic
Top Critic

Juno may look like Knocked Up's kid sister, but it bests it on all fronts from jokes to emotional insight.

Full Review… | January 29, 2008
I.E. Weekly
Top Critic

Juno comes on all wisecracking and aren't-we-clever, but don't be surprised if you find yourself getting choked up -- with happy tears -- by the end.

December 21, 2007
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Juno is the best movie of the year. It's the best screenplay of the year, and it features the best actress of the year working with the best acting ensemble of the year.

Full Review… | December 21, 2007
Detroit News
Top Critic

By its end, Juno, in its guilelessly chatty way, touches the heart -- and yes, I had tears in my eyes. This movie works, on its own terms.

Full Review… | December 14, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Juno

One of cinema's most endearing and important qualities is its ability to stimulate debate about the important issues of the day. Films can hold a mirror up to society in a manner which resonates like no other, using a variety of visual and verbal languages to shed light on injustice, hypocrisy and absurdity, and reveal more about ourselves in the process. In an age where the default setting for our culture would seem to be mindless escapism, films which can provoke such a reaction should be encouraged and promoted at any cost. The downside to such an attitude, however, is that sometimes the controversy can overtake or overshadow the quality of a given film as a piece of art or entertainment. Whether it's a given filmmaker pushing the boundaries of taste with how much he or she chooses to show, or simply the inflamatory nature of the subject itself, a film can quickly accrue a reputation which is increasingly far removed from the content therein. We find ourselves in that position with Juno, which when stripped of all the arguments about the whole nine months has held up pretty well after a whole nine years. When Juno was first released in America, much of the attention focussed around its treatment of abortion - an issue which, while far from being a moot point in Britain, doesn't attract the same gulf of opinion as you often find in the States. Both the pro-life and pro-choice communities were quick to defend and criticise the film; the former latched onto Juno's decision not to abort her baby, while the latter - like Lou Lemenick in The New York Post - argued that this was Juno's choice as a free agent with control over her own body. But whatever arguments you most gravitate towards, for whatever reasons, to come down firmly on one side or another is to miss the point. It's tempting when you look at Diablo Cody's later work, like Jennifer's Body, to assume that she is primarily interested in female empowerment and that logically the film is therefore pro-choice. The argument goes that you cannot have a 'strong female character' (itself a dangerously loaded phrase) who isn't in control of her own actions. In fact Cody's writing, at least here, is far more ambivalent, reflecting the indecision and lack of grounding exhibited by the generation she writes for - a generation which picks and chooses the values which suit it at the time, and which struggles with any concept of absolutes or a higher moral standard. From this point of view, Cody isn't nailing her colours to the mast so much as encouraging a discussion about what values we should uphold and how we should arrive at those decisions. While she has come out as pro-choice outside of her screenwriting, here she is immensely keen for her audience to think for themselves about this complicated, thorny issue. Her even-handedness has sometimes resulted in films which are conflicted, as was the case with Jennifer's Body; it was torn between being a smart horror film about the sexual power of woman and a scuzzy slice of tittilation for teenage boys. This is where the director comes in, with Jason Reitman displaying a steadier hand here than Karyn Kusama did, reining in Cody's few moments of indulgence and working hard with his compositions and editing to keep the characters focussed and likeable. Juno is not so much a film about abortion as it is about the need to be responsible and mature. It shares with John Hughes' back catalogue, particularly The Breakfast Club, the notion that children are more able to figure out their problems than adults - or at least, are more willing to openly discuss them. Where a weaker film would have got bogged down in the awkward conversations between Ellen Page and Michael Cera, whose relationship is largely meandering, Cody and Reitman contrast the young lovers with a series of different adult relationships, all of which are dysfunctional in some way. Juno arrives at her decision not because of social attitudes or direct pressure, but from a rejection of the attitudes exhibited by the worst of these people. The key dynamic in Juno is not between Juno and Paulie, but Juno and Mark, played with unusual reserve by Jason Bateman. Juno is drawn into liking Mark by their mutual taste in music, a frequent jumping-on point in teen dramas and coming-of-age films. She begins to build up a picture of him as a creative, fun-loving would-be parent, but this image is soon challenged by his misplaced ambition to become a successful musician. Mark's failure to put childish ways behind him and take on the responsibility that comes with fatherhood have a huge effect on Juno, leading her to question the loyalty of those she cares most about, and the role of men in her life as a whole. But for all the best efforts of Bateman, very little of this would work without the great central performance of Ellen Page. Having made a name for herself in the terrific Hard Candy and made the best should could of her character in X-Men: The Last Stand, Juno sees her cement her status as one of the best actors under 30 working today. Her character manages to be hip and contemporary without feeling like a caricature of modern hipsterdom; she puts meat on the bones of Cody's language, bringing out the character's anxieties and indecisions without ever over-egging it. Her energy throughout provides a big lift for the other actors, particularly Cera, whose timid and uncertain performance is a million miles from his later work on Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. Credit must also go to Reitman for maintaining such a steady and naturalistic hand behind the camera. Unlike his father Ivan Reitman - still best known for directing Ghostbusters -, the comedy in Jason Reitman's films has never felt forced. You never get the sense that he is contriving a given situation, or rocking back and forth behind the camera praying that something funny will happen. He trusts the performers to get the best out of the material, and his role is to make them feel as comfortable as possible. Juno also manages to retain an indie sheen on a visual level despite looking incredibly glossy and polished. Eric Steelberg has worked with Reitman for most of the latter's career, as well as lensing the overrated (500) Days of Summer two years after this. After the comic-book panel-style opening, which just screams "Sundance Film Festival", the visual style settles down nicely, with emphasis on earthy colours like greens, browns, ochres and deep reds. With such a zinger-laden script, the natural temptation would have been to make the visuals as off-kilter as, say, Ghost World, but Steelberg and editor Dana E. Glaubermann hold their nerve, to their credit and to the film's benefit. Because the film feels so independently spirited despite its professional finish, the pace at which Juno unfolds is likely to divide audiences. It is a much better disciplined film than Little Miss Sunshine; as well as having a better plot from the outset, it avoids both repetition and unnecesary longeurs for the most part. But even at 96 minutes long, it doesn't feel like a brisk, well-refined 96 minutes, and you can sense both the actors and director being tempted to drag their heels at certain points when they really should be getting a move on. The entire scene with the pro-life campaigner is pretty unnecessary; the character is thinly written and Juno already understands what she's up against without it being shouted at her (and us). The one weak link in Juno from a production point of view is some elements of the soundtrack. Many of the soundtrack suggestions for the film came from Page, and for the most part the artists and songs she has put forward are very fitting. The little snippets of punk rock that we get in the second act, including Patti Smith and Iggy Pop and the Stooges, gel really nicely with Juno as a character and counterpoint the incidental score by Mateo Messina. The real howler, however, is the inclusion of The Moldy Peaches, with 'Anyone Else But You' coming to epitomise the film. Without wishing to tar the whole anti-folk scene with the same brush, the song is atonal rubbish which cheapens the ending and makes the film in that moment far too self-conscious and shoegazing for its own good. Juno is a very good second offering from Reitman which soars on both the maturity of its script and Page's gripping central performance. Unlike many films about serious social issues, it avoids being overly preachy or histrionic for the most part, giving its audience plenty to chew on and ponder while constantly making them chuckle. While it isn't perfect, it is a more rounded and satisfying work than Jennifer's Body, and is the yardstick against which all of Cody's subsequent output should be measured.

Daniel Mumby
Daniel Mumby

Super Reviewer

There were many great films that came out around 2007 and 2008, and this one proved to be in the top tier. After a fling with her longtime pal leaves her pregnant, snarky, witty, and smart 16 year-old Juno MacGuff decides to do the right thing and give her baby up for adoption to a seemingly perfect yuppie couple unable to have kids of their own. It's a coming-of-age romantic comedy, that might be the best entry in either of those two categories I've seen. This is a very sharply written, finely observed film that is irresistibly heartwarming, charming, and moving. Though Juno is more of a stylized ideal than anything else, she represents the kind of teenage girl we need to see more of in real life. She's a good belng of being smart, yet far from perfect. This was the "indie darling" of its year, but I don't see that as a bad thing. This movie is a great example of why I love indies from time to time. There's excellent writing (and thankfully the 'teen speak' isn't overdone), lots of heart, depth, and humor, and some great performances to boot. I mean, you get top notch work from EVERYONE here, but especially Page, Garner, Thirlby, and Janney. I know I'm praising this film a lot, and, while it is justified, part of why I love this film is that I have a personal and emotional connection to it. A little pain is involved, but despite some bitter-sweetness, this film is tied to an important part of my life, and I would be a worse off person without this film. I highly recommend this, because, even though my connection to it can't be shared by everyone, this film is still brilliant without having such a deep meaning for me.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer

½

twee lite

Bob Stinson
Bob Stinson

Super Reviewer

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