During the first 10 minutes of Juno, Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page)
looks like she's doing an impression of Napoleon Dynamite, the nerdy hero of
Jared Hess's 2004 cult-comedy hit starring John Heder. Both Juno and Napoleon
are socially inept, small-town misfits whose lingua franca has spawned
imitators all around the world. Like the infamous Napoleon, Juno is an off-beat
character who speaks in her own dialect, avoids the "in-crowd" and even has her
own sidekick (no, not Pedro) a peer named Leah (charming newcomer Olivia
Tender, touching, and very realistic, Juno is truly one of a kind, and
one of the sweetest movies in recent years. The word "sweet" may be an odd
choice to use in describing a movie about a 16-year-old girl who has to decide
what to do when she gets knocked up following her first sexual encounter with
her high school sweetheart, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), nonetheless,
it is an appropriate choice.
Juno is about one unplanned pregnancy, but it is also about children
dealing with situations that are "way beyond their maturity level," as Juno
aptly puts it. The movie brilliantly shows the ways in which children consider
themselves adult until confronted with real "adult" problems. Juno acts
like an adult, even talks like one, and possesses the maturity to realize that
she can't keep her baby, deciding instead to hand it over for adoption—to a
young couple who advertise for a baby in the local penny-saver.
Juno is the year's most splendid love story. Beautifully told- it's
about two teenagers who find a connection deeper than their respective ages. In
Juno's mind, no one is cooler than dorky Paulie Bleeker. Paulie, meanwhile, is
endlessly infatuated with Juno. The film's closing song, "Anyone Else but You,"
(performed by none other than Page and Cera in their youthful voices) reflects
their spastic romance in its chorus: "I don't see what anyone can see in anyone
else, but you." And that's kind of the whole point of Juno.