Originally posted January 8, 2010.
I’m very careful giving out a perfect 10. This was the first (and so far only) perfect 10 I’ve ever given out since I’ve decided to do this thang online. The only other movies I’ve previously given a perfect 10 where Shawshank Redemption (until the Ultimate Rankatron got a hold of it), Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction and one movie from 1983 that shall be a surprise for Wednesday …so it’s been a LONG time.
I’ve been a fan of movies and TV shows that flex their literary and verbal muscles since I’ve seen Dr. Joel Fleishman show up in the town of Cicely, Alaska in that early 90s hit Northern Exposure. Up until that time, I never fully realized how smart words can be. A witty turn of a phrase, two or more characters sparring and spewing fast-paced dialogue full of one-liners that hit you like a one-two punch and leave your reeling before you know what happened…and only fully appreciated when you take a breath and listen with undivided attention. Many movies and TV shows since that tale of a neurotic doctor trapped in northern Alaska have followed this model: Gilmour Girls, any Kevin Smith movie (especially Clerks), Pulp Fiction, Reservoir Dogs…just to name a few…and there are too few of these movies. Juno IS one of these types of movies.
Ellen Page, as Juno MacGruff, dances through the heavy and controversial subject of teenage pregnancy with the easy of a prima ballerina. She deals with her ordeal with grace, common-sense, and wisdom beyond her years. She doesn’t treat her pregnancy like a curse and takes anyone who thinks as such with a grain of salt. Independent and strong she figures the best and simplest overall solution and excludes nothing as an option. She has no vices against abortion or adoption. She bases her decision on logic and feeling.
With such a serious subject matter, humour comes surprisingly easy in this quirky movie. Not laugh out loud comedy found in another “Unplanned Pregnancy” flick such as Knocked Up. This humour will make you smile and feel good inside. Juno will light up your soul with her apt points of view that make you wonder why everything has to be so complicated.
Her boyfriend/father of her child, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera of Superbad and Arrested Development fame) is quiet, caring, and breaming with boyish charm. He supports her despite his fears of being a father in High School.
Jennifer Garner (Vanessa) and Jason Bateman (Mark) are a married couple both following their dreams: One about to be realized and another to be pushed aside into a small room in the basement. They play Juno’s saviours and, in turn, become saved by Juno in ways you wouldn’t completely expect.
Juno’s father, Mac MacGruff (played by JK Simmons – you’ll recognize him as J.Jonah Jameson from Spiderman), treats and supports Juno with unwaivering paternal understanding without masking his disappointment. Yet, he doesn’t allow this to interfere with helping Juno do what needs to be done. Juno doesn’t fall to far from the tree in this sense.
Ellen Page, for her range and her courage to take on such a role, deserves the Oscar. And even if the movie itself doesn’t win Best Picture this year, I will honour it by giving it my highest score ever, a perfect 10…take that Academy!!!
10 jugs of OJ out of 10.