Customer Review

68 of 83 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Complex Tale Told with Humor, Tenderness, and Simplicity, April 17, 2008
This review is from: Juno (Single-Disc Edition) (DVD)
Teenage pregnancy is frequently a starting point for myriad philosophical arguments: some see it as a major problem, some see it as an argument for the need of early teaching of contraceptive technique and sex education, some see it as a reason for championing abortion, and some see it as a piece of life that confronts families in both positive and negative ways. JUNO is a beautifully written (Diablo Cody) and directed (Jason Reitman) version of unplanned pregnancy offered by a splendid ensemble cast: it is a movie that could modify the sociologic outlook of many people in a very strong fashion.

Juno (Ellen Page) is sixteen and talks her best friend Bleek (Michael Cera) into having sex: the result is a surprise pregnancy that Juno shares with her girlfriend Leah (Olivia Thirley) and the store clerk Rollo (Rainn Wilson) even before informing Bleek, a likable kid who seems fairly flat about the situation. After discarding abortion as a viable solution, Juno informs her father (JK Simmons) and stepmother (Allison Janney) of her status, and tells them she is going to complete the pregnancy and give the baby to some loving and needy barren couple. Her parents are at first flustered by the news, but quickly become supportive in a way that tells us many things about the durability of successful families. With Leah's help, Juno answers an ad for 'wanted: baby' in PennySaver and visits the Lorings (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) who desperately want a child and embrace Juno's gesture of adoption with eager excitement. The remainder of the film follows Juno as her abdomen increases in girth, finding new respect for her parents and for Bleek, and inadvertently walking in the troubled waters of the Loring's marital discord. Without giving the story away, the ending is so tender and free of cliché that it allows us, the audience, to appreciate all the vigor and sensitivity and humor and warmth of Juno - an example of developing maturity that is a fresh breeze compared to the usual teenage movies.

Ellen Page does indeed deliver a pitch perfect performance, but her co-stars are equally fine: Simmons and Janney break away from their usual type cast roles brilliantly, and the other members of the cast (the entire cast) flesh out this well written story with great skill. The mixture of animated graphics and the imaginative musical score enhance the flavor of the tale. JUNO offers an unbiased look at the topic of teenage pregnancy and wins on every level. Grady Harp, April 08
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Showing 1-5 of 5 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 17, 2008 6:25:12 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 17, 2008 6:26:33 PM PDT
Just how does this movie offer "an unbiased look at the topic of teenage pregnancy?" In my judgment, the screenwriter thinks it thrilling that an allegedly "bright" teenage girl not only talks her best friend into having premarital sex but is so stupid, given the variety of contraceptive devices available today to the average teenager, to get knocked up as a consequence. This is Hollywood once again presenting very "ghetto" behavior as glamorous, hardly an unbiased look at the topic of teenage pregnancy. Notice, too, that the writer has Juno improbably decide to carry the baby to term, so in this way she can be at once daring yet conventional, and thus certain to please the anti-abortion portion of the audience as well. Covering all bases rather than unbiased, I'd say.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2008 7:13:50 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on May 5, 2008 2:28:27 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 20, 2008 10:39:25 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 20, 2008 10:49:56 AM PDT
Notice how the positive votes for this review - as Barbara Delaney predicted - are starting a slow but unlikely trickle upward, replacing the improbable vote surges of recent days with an equally improbable number of latter day 'helpfuls." This new method will doubtless become discernible in the entries on this page above "Juno," all of which so far have received an unusually low number of votes for a Harp review. The impetus behind this changed method is apparently the belief that if one waits a few days, inflated vote totals will become less noticeable. Instead of administering arsenic in one shot, in other words, it's wiser to give a little bit of it on a daily basis. Members of the Grady Bunch should not despair then, for inflated votes delayed need not mean inflated votes denied.

Posted on Apr 9, 2011 8:23:30 PM PDT
Anonymous says:
I liked your review and the movie, which I just saw for the first time tonight as probably the last person in America to see this movie. I loved it. It was on commercial TV which meant it had lots of commercials, but I loved it anyway and now plan to buy it. I thought your review described the movie very well without spoiling it for those who haven't yet seen it. It seems that some people are angry with you for your review because apparently they thought the movie should have been written the way they want stories written, polemically, rather than the the way it was written, fictionally.

In reply to an earlier post on Jan 27, 2015 11:39:39 PM PST
This is a very biased comment on the topic of teenage pregnancy.
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4.2 out of 5 stars (664 customer reviews)
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Grady Harp
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Location: Los Angeles, CA United States

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