Rating: 2.75 of 5
I suspect several people will think I scored this too low. Everyone else I’ve known who has seen it has loved it. It’s like the Little Miss Sunshine of this year; the quiet, quirky critical darling. Juno is lesser for me, though, I think in part because it doesn’t have the wonderful, outrageous moment at the end full of life and laughter and energy.
The thing that makes Juno worthwhile are the characters.Jennifer Garner is beautiful in this film and I very rarely say things like this, but I little bit wish I looked like that. Her character is fascinating because of all the things we don’t know about her. What happened with their previous adoption? Why does she seemed surprised that Juno found them in the pennysaver? Why does it feel in the beginning like she’s hiding something? What aren’t they telling us?
The thing that makes it less interesting is that I think the thing they’re not telling us is that he’s leaving her. Which isn’t as interesting as I thought it would be.
Mark is this guy who refuses to grow up. At first he seems quite the victim, with his music and passion confined to a single room in their house. A little bit that’s true. But also, he won’t move on. He never pursues his music with the passion and fire that will take him somewhere to actually do anything and still he refuses to let that particular dream go.
The other characters have enough quirks to make them both human and unique, to be developed, but it’s not their story so we don’t get to know them as well.
Ellen Page really is the reason the movie shines. She’s so blunt and endearing it’s delightful. She carries the movie as best as she’s able, but she definitely gets some help from the other stars.
I liked to see in her that despite her bravado and seeming maturity she was still a little girl who didn’t understand what was happening with Mark. Her mom saw it and Vanessa saw it, but no matter that she’d had sex and gotten pregnant there was still a part of her that was blithely innocent.
I also liked that she finally let herself be loved by Bleeker. The whole time she’s resisting him it sort of bothered me, because why wouldn’t she just let the guy she liked love her? Would that really be so bad? But then it was ok, because she figured it out. It was sweet.
But it wasn’t life changing, or brilliant or hilarious or so delightful I can’t stop thinking about it. Maybe I was expecting too much. Maybe it’s enough as it is, which is cute and ok.
It’s pretty much a dramedy because the drama is never that heavy and the comedy is never that outrageous. It attempts instead to be something close to real life, just a little more clever.