I know it’s a cliché, but the simple things in life are usually the best things. Sharing a cup of hot chocolate on a cold day with a loved one is just one example. One of these days, Hollywood will learn this lesson and try to make more films like “Juno” and less films like “Eagle Eye” and “Burn After Reading.” “Juno” is a simple film with a simple story, which is what made it work so well, and my only issue is that I waited so long to see it.
For those of you who have not seen it (there aren’t many of you left), “Juno” is about a teenage girl, Juno (Ellen Page), who gets pregnant and decides to give the baby up for adoption (I told you it was simple). The whole film takes place from the time she gets pregnant to just after she gives birth. The underlying lesson of the film is how Juno matures, due to her interactions with her family, friends, and the couple that is receiving the baby. Her stepmother, Bren (Allison Janney), even tells her this when she tries to warn Juno about her relationship with Mark, the adoptive father (Jason Bateman). Juno argues with her and eventually comes to realize that Bren was right. Juno also realizes many other things, but I don’t want to spoil them all for you.
Besides being a very well-crafted movie, “Juno” was a very popular movie. What made it popular was not the simplicity, but the ease of which people could relate to it. This film had no special effects or spooky twists to thrill the audience with, so they had to write it in a way that would still attract an audience. The story does just that, creating something that adults and teenagers can both relate to and learn something from (whether they realize it or not). The teenagers can relate to the way Juno is treated by the other kids at school, as well as the relationship between her and Paulie (Michael Cera), her friend and the baby’s father. The parents can relate (and definitely learn from) to the way her father (J.K. Simmons) and Bren treat Juno, especially when Juno tells them she is pregnant. A scene for everyone is when Bren tears apart a sonogram technician for judging Juno (my favorite scene of the film).
If you haven’t seen this movie, you should definitely check it out. Ignore the fact that Jennifer Garner, Mark’s wife, doesn’t blink throughout the entire movie. Enjoy the absence of explosions or car chases. Recognize that this film is filled with many good lessons that all of us can take something from. If nothing else, know that your kids are going to have sex, whether you like it or not, so try to remember that so did you.
Rating: Worth what you paid, including the cost of that hot chocolate.