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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

POSTER ART
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FILM DETAILS
Certificate
TBC
Cast
Jason Bateman
Allison Janney
Jennifer Garner
Michael Cera
Ellen Page
J K Simmons.
Directors
Jason Reitman.
Screenwriters
Diablo Cody.
Running Time
92 minutes

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Juno
The other great unplanned-pregnancy comedy of the last year


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Plot
When 16-year-old Juno MacGuff (Page) gets pregnant by her not-quite-boyfriend (Cera), she elects to have the child adopted by a wealthy suburban couple (Bateman and Garner). Then the problems really start...


Review
Juno
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2007 was Hollywood’s Year Of The Unplanned-Pregnancy Comedy. First we had Adrienne Shelley’s Waitress; next was Judd Apatow’s Knocked Up; then, in December, Juno was delivered in the US.

Instead of being regarded as the runty late arrival, Juno received more coverage than the other two films put together. Some even talked Oscars for the film’s 19-year-old Canadian star Ellen Page and scripter Diablo Cody. Others noted that, of the three films, Juno was the only one to give more than a passing mention to the “shmashmortion” issue.

Then there were those who raged at the film’s flippant approach to such A Serious Subject. Juno is sure to divide UK audiences too and, while the ayes have it, the film’s first ten minutes might see you siding with the nays.

The second film from Jason Reitman, following his glib debut Thank You For Smoking, and the first script from stripper-turned-blogger-turned-writer Cody, Juno initially suffers from a callow need to impress. Our too-cool-to-be-true heroine (listens to The Stooges, affects a pipe) is introduced in scenes loaded with zingers that threaten to derail the film before it’s even started. Thankfully, after Juno has purchased her home pregnancy test from a corrosive store clerk and informed her cheerleader best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) of the big news, the pace and tone shifts.

Following Juno’s visit to a dispiriting abortion clinic comes a surprisingly warm scene in the family home where Juno breaks the news to her dad (J. K. Simmons) and stepmom (Allison Janney). Here is a young girl who’s been raised by a blue-collar father who uses humour as a mark of character: Juno’s wit is a mask for her insecurities and a valuable defence against a cruel world.

Juno’s softer side is first glimpsed in her relationship with the baby’s father, Paulie (another disarmingly awkward turn from Superbad’s Michael Cera). But amidst Juno’s teen-comedy conventions, Cody, Reitman and cast set about undermining them. When we first meet the adoptive parents in their suburban McMansion, the wife, Vanessa (Jennifer Garner), is presented as an uptight control-freak, leaving our sympathies resting with Jason Bateman’s Mark, a former grunge musician who now writes commercial jingles. But as Juno finds herself drawn to Mark and his collection of manga comics, the mood turns eerie: “I’m dealing with things way beyond my maturity level,” she tells her dad, in a moment that reveals just how young Juno truly is.

It’s scenes like this that give the film depth, as Juno gradually discovers who’s on her side in life’s battle. It’s like having the delicious cynicism of Ghost World and Heathers, but without any traces of the concomitant cruelty. Thanks to a perfectly judged three-act structure that follows the emotional highs and lows of Juno’s winter-to-summer pregnancy, the film saves its aces for last. Without giving too much away, after all that flip hipster yacking, the scenes that finally bring the tears are almost wholly without dialogue. As with all great wits, when it comes down to it, Juno knows exactly when to shut up.


Verdict
A sharp-edged, sweet-centred, warm-hearted coming-of-age movie that’s always just that little bit smarter than you think it is.


Reviewed by Andrew Male

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Juno
Empire Star Rating

Juno

Juno takes a lighter, more fun look at the pressures and cycles if teen pregnancy. And while the script's lack of pure emotion and realism may prevent this from being a well-rounded film, Cody's fondness for snappy talk and bustling conversations make this a powerful and surprising hilarious treat. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by norgizfox at 04:10, 22 September 2012 | Report This Post


Smart and Funny

Ellen Page became one of my favourite actresses after watching this film. Her performance as cooler than cool Juno makes this film hugely entertaining. The relationship between the adopting couple is not particulary that interesting as it is unclear if we should have any respect for the characters. However it brings a emotional element and maturity. Intelligent, funny, sweet and well acted makes this completly un-average. Its greatness is how it blends perfect humour with momentary undertones of... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by trainedasninja at 21:00, 12 June 2011 | Report This Post


Joyful And Sweet

Ellen Page is perfectly cast as Juno Macguff, a sweet but naive teenager who gets knocked up by Michael Cera. Whilst this isn't a premise that most old style parents would call 'funny', the film is a sweet-natured and brilliantly entertaining genre exercise that transcends beautifully from heartfelt drama to gross out comedy. Michael Cera and Jennifer Garner feel a little bit miscast, but apart from that minor niggle, most everything else feels great. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by blaud at 15:31, 22 March 2011 | Report This Post


Perfectly OK

I just got round to watching this last night, expecting to be blown away by awesomeness based on all the reviews. And while I have nothing bad to say, I do think there has been a little bit of over-hype. I thought it was very good but not brilliant. Oh, and the people moaning about the dialogue are sad and need to get lives. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Trautman at 22:22, 27 December 2010 | Report This Post


tp://www.imdb.com/title/tt0467406/]Junollen Page is brilliantly cast as the 16-year old pregnant and eccentric Juno. Even though her use of language feels a bit weird in the beginning you`ll soon be used to that. She creates a very likeable character. Still a very good coming-of-age flick with great humour and nice and fitting soundtrack. /b] ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by TheGodfather at 00:53, 02 August 2010 | Report This Post


One To Treasure

Think your cool disliking this movie? Guess what, your not Juno is a wonderful movie ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by monkeyhumour at 13:01, 24 July 2010 | Report This Post


Wonderful ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Kurtis93 at 21:55, 24 May 2010 | Report This Post


Loved the soundtrack, the cast and the dialogues!! The story and the text probably wouldn't happen like that in real life but a movie doesn't always have to portray the reality with 100%. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by FanaticalAboutFilm at 13:44, 11 April 2010 | Report This Post


Watched Schindler's List afterwards for some light relief and laughs!

What a load of shit! Possibly the unfunniest, most contrived, try-hard movie I've ever seen. Juno is perhaps the most obnoxious character ever, and who the hell speaks like that in real life? I HATED THIS!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by johncarrelson at 00:21, 04 July 2009 | Report This Post


My Opinion Changed

When I first saw this, I loved it. It was fresh, quirky and funny yet touching. But then, after a second viewing, I started to notice flaws. For me, its just too selfaware at being indie and quirky; the dialogue seems too scripted, and for schizz, no teenagers talk like that. Also, Michael Cera, although loveable, was far too predictable. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by MovieAddict247 at 16:16, 06 June 2009 | Report This Post


For Shizz!

Shame on Empire for disgracefuly underrating this (also little miss sunshine). This is a exellently acted, superbly written and expertedly directed piece of modern film and should be praisedfor what it is - a great film!!!! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by cdjwfan at 22:12, 05 April 2009 | Report This Post


8/10 ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by shawshank prisoner at 18:05, 12 February 2009 | Report This Post


i dont usually take the plesure of watching indies but id heard great things about this film. Sure, the screenplays good, but its no Tarantino. I guess its for an acquired taste, and i dont mean in the Coen way. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by WiseGuy101 at 05:33, 05 February 2009 | Report This Post


I have a mixed opinion of this film. It's certainly watchable but I wasn't so sure about some of the dialogue during the film. The soundtrack is great, some great shots throughout the film and the story was decent but even before I sat down to watch the movie I knew what kind of performance I would expect from Cera. The same nervous, shy guy he plays in most of his roles which leaves the question of what else can he do as an actor? Apart from this it is a pretty decent film. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by PureAinmhi at 04:12, 11 January 2009 | Report This Post


Juno

If kids these days really talk like this then kids these days are idiots. Forshizz! To be honest I went into this film disliking Ellen Page, because I thought her performance in Hard Candy was overrated and quite hammy. To be fair, she's quite good in this, when she's away from her moronic girlfriend that is. I thought the film was okay, and I liked Jennifer Garner, the guys from Arrested Development and the one from The West Wing, but it baffles me that so many critics named this as one of the ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Swifty170 at 00:53, 19 November 2008 | Report This Post


excellent! ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Kat113 at 20:40, 05 November 2008 | Report This Post


A wonderfully written, perfectly cast and funnily directed film. The only funny pregnancy comedy of last year. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by willchadwick at 20:52, 06 August 2008 | Report This Post


Not a fan

Just watched this, struggled to laugh once. I didn't particularly enjoy the character of Juno or the dialogue, which seems to be the problem that everyone that doesn't like the film has. The references made by Juno seemed to be about five or ten years older than her, such as the Thundercats are go bit and claiming to have not seen Blair Witch since it came out. I assume when she was 8. Overall not a particularly deserving winner of an Oscar for best script ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by dollimon at 16:02, 10 July 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Juno

Absurdly overrated. It was a dialogue film in whihc none of the dialogue was particualrly funny, interesting or true to life. Shame on the Academy for awarding this garbage best screenplay. ... More

Posted by hatebox at 16:45, 09 July 2008 | Report This Post


RE: Juno

I just finished watching this and thought it was a very sweet film, not sure where all the flack is coming from. Based on the film I saw, I can't really understand why people would have so much hate for it. Not liking it is one thing, but it's a pretty inoffensive film for something some people are so vicious about. The first 5 or 10 minutes I thought maybe the dialogue was going a little overboard with the quirkiness, but that seemed to be confined to the clerk at the store. The... More

Posted by Larry of Arabia at 12:31, 09 July 2008 | Report This Post


Sorry, just found this film like waaay annoying.....I mean HELLO?!! Had to turn it off after about 30 minutes. Ellen Page sounded a character from the later episodes of friends. Two stars for making me chuckle a couple of times... ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by SonnyDaze at 19:23, 22 June 2008 | Report This Post


not so good

to be fair what does this film encourage. more and more teen girlos thinkits really cool to be pregnant and they think that as soon as high school finished they get loads of money. had this film been made in england no one would watch it as it would be perceived as basically Vicky Pollard: The Movie ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Notokayatall at 12:38, 17 June 2008 | Report This Post


not so good

to be fair what does this film encourage. more and more teen girlos thinkits really cool to be pregnant and they think that as soon as high school finished they get loads of money. had this film been made in england no one would watch it as it would be perceived as basically Vicky Pollard: The Movie ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Notokayatall at 12:38, 17 June 2008 | Report This Post


Garbage

Absolute crap ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by jcallan at 16:40, 09 June 2008 | Report This Post


garbage ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by hatebox at 14:44, 09 June 2008 | Report This Post


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