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: Movie Review - Juno
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Feb 24th 2008
"Adorable". There is no better word to describe "Juno", the movie and the character. Good at heart but with a venomous tongue, Juno MacGuff is a girl who sometimes doesn't realize she's hurting people with her words, although she has no intention to. Smart and funny, it's hard not to love her. Especially, of course, due to Ellen Page, who I'm totally in love with.
After a night with a guy called Bleeker, she gets pregnant. At first, she decides to get an abortion, but the clinic she goes to looks so sloppy and uninterested that she gives up. Then she finds a couple for adoption, and the movie shows us the slow process of gestation and what happens during that time.
Next time you go to a strip club, my fellow reader, you never look at that woman in the pole as a brainless pair of tits. This imaginative, intelligent script was written by ex-stripper Diablo Cody, who has a great talent for writing dialogue ("You know how doctors are, honey: they like playing God and watching lesser mortals scream"). Creating a variety of interesting, tridimensional characters, Cody doesn't need to insert any scenes written exclusively to make you laugh; the humor in "Juno" is organic, it comes from the characters and their personalities. Also, Cody deserves a fucking medal for not adding one of those annoying ending scenes when the movie tries to tell you what's its "message", something very common in movies of this genre. No, Cody keeps stuff straightforward and coherent, and always with a careful balance of subtle humor and drama. "Juno" has several laugh-out-loud moments, mainly due to dialogue. "Oh, but nobody talks like that in real-life!". Of course not, that's why movies are great and why Quentin Tarantino is a fucking genius, so you shut the fuck up.
Jason Reitman's direction is... correct. That's it. I don't understand why in the name of fuck he's been nominated for an academy award, and meanwhile Paul Greengrass and his "The Bourne Ultimatum" are left hanging. Reitman avoids melodramatic soundtrack and the editing is good. That's it. He adds way too much musical scenes, where we see a character doing something to the sound of a song. But his direction is simply... correct. This movie's quality is almost entirely down to Diablo Cody and...
... the cast. Let's start, of course, with Ellen Page, who'd already left me stunned with her absolutely amazing work in "Hard Candy". Incredibly talented, she captures perfectly the ambiguity of her character: she's smart and at the same time a little immature, although she thinks of herself as exactly the opposite. With great comic timing, Page delivers her line with naturality, and her difficulty to understand when she's hurting people is hilarious. The rest of the cast is brilliant too, with special mention to the adoption couple (Jennifer Garner in a good movie, wow), Juno's parents (J.K. Simmons!), and her best friend (not Bleeker, the girl, although Michael Cera acts nicely).
Not worthy of "Best Picture", but it has a shot on the "Best Original Screenplay" award. It's, as I said, an adorable film, funny and charming without making any effort to make you laugh. Once again, Ellen Page proves what an amazing (and cuuuuuuute) actress she is, and Diablo Cody seems a promising talent. But let's not cover her in laurels yet: too early to tell.
Now, for the academy awards.
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