Sunday, January 27, 2008

Reviewing "Juno"

Sorry...that title makes it seem like I actually know something about reviewing movies. I really don't, but here are my two cents regarding "Juno" anyway.

First off, the soundtrack was FANTASTIC. As soon as I have some extra cash, I'm gonna run out and buy it. I loved the music from the opening montage to the final credits. It definitely added something special to the movie.

I thought the movie itself was really, really well done. At first, I had a hard time with the dialogue, just because I can't think of a single teenager that I know that speaks as eloquently as Juno did in the movie (and I was a high school Spanish teacher for a couple of years, so I know how teenagers converse). But, as the movie went on and as I have thought about it over the past day or so, I realized that this was actually one of the things that made her character seem realistic. Juno is not your ordinary teenage girl; she's intelligent, thoughtful, and so cool, so I felt like the dialogue suited her.

I also thought the movie was HEARTBREAKING. Sure, it was funny and very witty. In fact, I can't remember the last time I laughed out loud so many times during a movie. However, there were a couple of parts in the movie where I actually had to bite the inside of my lower lip to keep myself from sobbing out loud. There is one part in which Jennifer Garner's character (Vanessa) runs into Juno at the mall and Juno invites her to touch her belly to feel the baby kick. Vanessa feels in vain for a few minutes and decides, disappointed, that the baby isn't going to respond to her, but then it happens...she feels the kick, and kneels down to talk to the baby in Juno's belly. As others in the theater snickered during this scene, I wept. No one but a mother knows the true desperation of wanting to feel your child respond to you, and no one but a mother knows the beauty of feeling that actually happen.

Ok, if you didn't see the movie and/or haven't heard what happens at the end, you might not want to read on. I think most people by now have heard how things end up, though.

The final part of the movie was probably the most heartbreaking for me. From the time Juno decided to give her baby up for adoption, it seemed as though she didn't have a single doubt in her mind. I just couldn't fathom this, but then again, I'm not a teenager who is in no way ready to raise a child and who wants to help someone who can't have a child of their own. In a way, what Juno did for Vanessa was beautiful and selfless. But, after having a child myself and knowing how the bond between mother and child forms so quickly and so permanently, I just couldn't imagine saying goodbye to my baby. My heart just tore in two as the final scenes of the movie played out, with Juno leaving the hospital without her baby and going on back to her old life, seemingly as if nothing had happened. As the other movie goers filed out of the theater, chatting about how funny the movie was, I sat in my seat, trying to pull myself together. Even thinking about the movie, two days later, I still find myself welling up.

Do I think Juno made the right decision? I'm not sure. Certainly, she did an admirable thing by giving her child to someone who really wanted one and was not able to have one on her own. But, if I let my imagination wander for a moment, I wonder if in fifteen years Juno would wish she hadn't given up her baby. It's hard to say.

Needless to say, I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone, even dudes, because my hubby liked it very much as well (although probably for different reasons than I did). It's complex, well-written, and thought-provoking. And, as I said, it has a kick-ass soundtrack.


Carrie said...

Oh, I was sobbing for sure.

There are some interesting things being written online about the fairy-tale-esque apparent lack of consequences for Juno. The links in this post point to them:

Sara said...

Carrie--Thanks for the link! I'll definitely check it out, as I am interested to see how others feel about the movie!

patrick said...

i assumed Juno was directed by the same guy that directed Knocked Up because it's about an unexpected pregnancy, and Michael Cera stars as Juno's boyfriend (he was one of the goofy kids from Superbad, a close relative of Knocked Up), but it turns out this is not the case