Friday, January 25, 2008

Movies: "Juno"

Whenever I read a review I do it just to see how the reviewer felt, what they sensed, what they came away with. In a way reviews are another art form. I've never believed art should be judged on any criteria other than the visceral.

I saw Juno last night because I'm trying to see as many of the top Oscar picks as possible - it's so much more fun to watch the awards (if the strike is settled) when you know what the hell they're talking about - and because I've seen the cast, director and writer interviewed enough times to have fallen in love with them.

Ellen Page (Juno) is the most delightful young woman. Quick and clever, sweet and sassy. A newcomer who held her own with Letterman and charmed Oprah. The writer - Diablo Cody - is a former stripper who brought her parents with her when she appeared on Oprah. That alone was enough to get me.

Juno is a lovely film. It is endearing and sweet. I felt tugs at my heart many times, even when I was laughing. The dialogue is quick and quirky but, with a few exceptions, I always felt that I was relating to the words, not just hearing them and thinking "WTF!? - people don't talk like that". The camera work made the close-ups almost unbearingly poignant. I felt that I was looking right into their eyes. The opening sequence is unique and the director's choice of a high school track team as a way to mark the passing of time is fun for reasons I'll let you discover on your own.

Although Ellen shines brightly as Juno, the entire cast is strong. It was so nice to see Allison Janney again - I miss CJ and "The West Wing". Michael Cera makes me want to be a teenage girl again so I can have a crush on the awkwardly sexy boy he portrays. Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman have grown up good (as my Nana would have said) - and how wonderful that Garner doesn't feel she's too big to play a supporting role. J. K. Simmons is sweet and gruff as Juno's father and Juno's best friend reminds me of many of my niece's friends - funny, bitchy, smart-ass and earnest - all rolled into a ball of hair and make-up sitting atop a way too short skirt - Olivia Thirlby is exquisite.

I must confess to loving teen angst TV dramas - as much as I claim to watch them only to discuss them with my niece I really do enjoy them so it was fun to see Daniel Clark from the Canadian TV series - "Degrassi". And my latest favorite actor from TVs "ER" - Steven Christopher Parker - has a memorable tiny role in one of my favorite scenes. High school terror and lunacy shown in a subtle palate of beautiful and gawky, clever and dorky.

Even the soundtrack has a major role - rarely do I leave a movie theater wanting to go straight to the record store.

From start to finish Juno made me feel good. Made me laugh a lot, nod my head in agreement often, tear up a bit - and the ending is all I could have wished for.

It was a wonderful evening at the movies topped off by a Bahama Mama at Houlihan's. And we got out of there before Karaoke night started - Good Times!

Check out Juno on IMDb


Michael Manning said...

Hey, Dianne! I'm glad you posted about this movie. I will now go see it up the street this weekend! :)

kenju said...

I have heard good things about this one, so I will make time to go.

Jay said...

I've seen so many great reviews of this movie I might actually have to go to the theater to see it. I don't really want to wait until it's available on NetFlix cause that might not be until late summer!

Thanks for visiting my blog! I'll be back!

Dianne said...

I hope you all enjoy it!

and you're welcome Jay - your blog is great fun and I'll be back there as well ;)