juno.jpgfinally saw the movie juno the other day. i was mildly interested in seeing it, but, frankly, didn’t know all that much about it, other than that people seem to like it and it’s about a teen pregnancy. but my daughter really wanted to see it, and i’d told her i had to see it first to decide if she was allowed to see it (i’ve told her she can, by the way — more on that later).

i was blown away: best movie i’ve seen in a while. the dialogue is 6 stars out of 5. the characters are amazing. the acting — wow — from ellen page in the title role, michael cera as the boyfriend, allison janney and j.k. simmons as the step-mom and dad, jason bateman and jennifer garner as the prospective adoptive parents. shoot, there’s even a bit-part in the first 5 minutes by rainn wilson (dwight schrute) as a drug store clerk. every single one of them are fantastic in their roles.

you’ve probably heard that this is the anti-abortion movie all the anti-abortion agencies could never make. and there’s some validity to that. but the movie is not — ultimately — about abortion (it’s just a subject that has to be dealt with in any movie about a teen pregnancy). instead, the movie honestly deals with the realities of pregnancy in the teen world — full of angst and pain and tough decisions and second-guessing and messiness and condemnation and hope. and it’s drop-dead funny.

every youth worker simply must see this movie (all your kids are seeing it). it’s great discussion fodder (jeannie, my wife, is going to take liesl, my daughter, to see it this weekend; and i am really looking forward to talking about it with her). yeah, it has a bit of language and — of course — an implied sex scene. but nothing too gratuitous or out of line with what real kids and families are like.

i’m confident this will be on my list of best movies of 2008 at the end of the year (even though it officially released in 2007).

OH (i almost forgot!), the movie has a perfectly quirky soundtrack, featuring the music of kimya davis, whom i’d never heard of, but quickly downloaded.

20 thoughts on “juno”

  1. i saw the making of this on a plane somewhere over the midwest and i’ve been dying to see it. i actually got excited this morning when i saw the first billboard for the movie up in town.. it’s gonna be awesome, and i’m glad to read that it’s going to live up to expectations.

  2. Claude-
    It makes the decision to “have the baby” vs. abortion seem “just fine.” Bateman and Garner play the prospective adoptive parents so Juno has a plan to not “keep the baby” and that also seems “just fine.” Both of these messages seem counter-cultural.
    Finally, the movie doesn’t romantize the lack of real thought that actually went into Juno and (especially) Beeker having sex.
    Marko’s right, there is loads of room for discussion (although I was personally a little squeamish about the language as I sat next to my 16 year old daughter.)

  3. I saw the movie the weekend it came out and was very impressed. Claude, I wouldn’t say that it made it look fine. It shows the raw emotions of teen pregnancy. My hope would be that the movie steers some away from sex simply because they get to see how difficult pregnancy is. There wasn’t anything in this movie that offended me in the least, however I’m not easily offended. I echo Marko’s sentiment that every youth worker should watch it, as well as any student leaders.

  4. It’s an amazing movie. Blown away by its simplicity. I went out and found the soundtrack soon after seeing the movie and it happens to be playing in our home right now, well, all but that one song, ;). It’s hard to not love this playful CD.

  5. i heard conservative talk radio rip on the movie saying it made pregnancy look ok. i was hoping someone else could give an honest review. as a youth pastor there are 2 movies i want to check out.
    juno and Rambo.
    i know it doesnt make sense, but as a mennonite youth pastors, all my guys are going to go see it, and it alledgedly circulates around christian missionaries or humanitarians so i thought i should be up on what’s happening. we’ll see.

    that was a run-on sentence.

    thanks for the review.

  6. claude — i agree with scott and brad: nothing in it promotes teen pregnancy. anyone who says so has not seen the movie and is making a ridiculous claim. seriously, that kind of thing frustrates me so much (not you asking, but conservative talk radio making that claim about this movie, which they should be championing!).

  7. it is a powerful film about how kids & families respond to pregnancy

    i really found the jennifer garner sub-plot powerful – when she talks to the baby and how she transcends a doofus of a husband who seems like a classic rejevenile

    ct has a solid review (http://www.christianitytoday.com/movies/reviews/2007/juno.html), as does ben witherington (http://benwitherington.blogspot.com/2008/01/juno-21rst-century-60s-film.html)

    kimya dawson used to be in a band called the moldy peaches – they are in the anti-folks thread that includes sufjan and regina spektor

  8. I gotta admit..I squirmed for the 1st 15-20 minutes. But then, I found it to be insightful, funny and well written. Some of Juno’s one-liners are hysterical and spot-on…”I’ve been out dealing with things way over my maturity level”. Juno should be required watching for youth workers.

  9. Also liked the movie very much. Kimya Dawson was on The View today, and it was said that we have Ellen Page to thank for the music as she was the one who recommended using music from Moldly Peaches in the film.

  10. Hey… I actually love the movie as well. I have wanted to see it from the moment that I saw the trailer. I loved the dialogue… but I also loved that it was not preaching… It really was about the audience just experiencing the whole story with Juno…

    I love the line: “I was just out dealing with things way beyond my maturity level.”

  11. Hey Marko. My wife and I loved this movie too. I won’t bore the readers too much with my thoughts, as I wrote about it here but I will say I have to agree that it is a must see for Youth Workers. I wish this movie were around for my sisterS to see (that’s right, plural) before they found themselves in the same situation. I guess more so, I wish, as a youth minister, I had the fortitude to talk to them about it before it happened.

    In response to an inquiry and conservative radio, I don’t think this implies that getting pregnant is Okay, but talks about another option that girls don’t really think about.

    Have you read the People magazine article recently about teen pregnancy. Hmmmmmm. I’d be interested if your reaction is the same as my wifes.

  12. I’m a youth minister who took my 15 yr-old son with me to check out the movie. The first words out of his mouth when the credits started to roll, “freakin’ amazing” … and I would agree. The conversation on the way home was priceless. My son has his first girlfriend and this movie gave me as a mom a wonderful opportunity to talk with him about love, sex, and faith. Don’t miss this movie.

  13. Hey Marko, I wasn’t going to see the movie. But I’m like your daughter, I needed someone to see if first:) and give me a review I could trust. The messiness of teen pregnancy or teen alcoholism, for that matter, has to be talked about in real terms for both the adults and students involved because they’re not going away any time soon. B

  14. Hey Marko! I was excited to see your reveiw on Juno! I heartily agree that every Youth Pastor, Worker, Leader NEEDS to see this poignant film. My husband, Frank, and I went to see this on an off night with no teens around. We laughed, cried and were truly impressed with the way the film tries to be as honest, direct and non-glamorous about teen pregnancy. The one thing I cherished throughout the movie was the celebration of a new life…albeit in a very quirky, refreshing way. With today’s movies not holding back anything anymore, we would hold our breaths a few times hoping the film didn’t rabbit trail off onto another heart-breaking subject (Jason Bateman’s character and a possible inappropriate relationship with Juno). Thankfully, they writer stayed on topic. I have told all my youth parents to go see this film and then take both guy & gal teens with them. One mom got quite angry with me and said she didn’t want to educate her 17 year old daughter. Paleeeze! The gal admitted she’d already seen it and that none of the content was anything new to her. They ended up seeing it again together and had some really good talks afterwards…and I got an apology later! :o)

  15. i appreciate your review, and agree 100%, but you left the best part of the movie out of your review, and it deserves its own paragraph…

    the movie Juno has the single best Thundercats reference in the history of motion pictures.

    thanks for all you do for us youthworkers…

  16. I haven’t seen the film yet. I’ll wait until Netflix delivers it. But I spoke with a friend of mine who had a baby right after high school (I know a little later than the characters in this film). In his review of Juno, he mentioned several times about the “thought processes” and the “questions” that pop into a teen’s mind at that point was right on. More than just giving teen’s options and detailing the toughness of pregnancy, it sounds like this film may have a thing or two to teach us about identifying with the “other” and their struggles–be it the pregnant teenager or her boyfriend

  17. I’ll definitely check that out when i can get it on Netflix.

    You should definitely watch “Sophie Scholl:The Final Days”. My husband and I got it from Netflix just knowing that it was about a woman who stood up to the Nazis. We had no idea of the spiritual ramifications it would contain. I was so moved and am still think of it weeks later. It was also the cleanest foreign/independant film I’ve ever seen.

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