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Masand's Verdict: Juno avoids cliches at every turn


Rajeev Masand,CNN-IBN
Mar 15, 2008 at 08:34am IST

Cast: Ellen Page, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman

Direction: Jason Reitman

Who'd have thought a film about an unplanned teenage pregnancy could be such fun, and honestly I can't think of a better word to describe this movie.

It's the story of an independent-minded 16-year-old girl Juno, played by Ellen Page, who has consensual sex with her best guy friend and must now deal with the situation of being pregnant.

What makes this film such an enjoyable watch is the manner in which it avoids clichés at every turn. You can't help but root for Juno who delivers snappy one-liners by the minute, and has this rare knack of being brutal and funny at the same time.

One of my favourite lines in this film is the one Juno uses to describe her pregnant condition - "I'm wearing a fat suit I can't take off," she says. Now before you get it wrong, it's not that the film treats teenage pregnancy as a joke, but it just can't help finding humour in it.

In fact it's the film's original tone, and unsentimental approach to this prickly theme that is what makes it so refreshing in the first place.

The film's most priceless scene, according to me, is the one in which she breaks the news to her dad and her step-mom – their reaction is so unpredictable and natural and yet so heartwarming.

Much of the credit for this fantastic film must go its deservedly Oscar-winning screenplay by first-timer Diablo Cody who makes her every character so believable and spontaneous.

From Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman as the seemingly perfect couple who Juno chooses as the adoptive parents for her baby; to JK Simmons and Allison Janney as Juno's supportive parents; not to mention Michael Cera as Bleeker, Juno's tic-tac loving friend and the birth father of her baby.

On screen, of course, the film belongs to Ellen Page who plays Juno like she was born to do this. She's a vulnerable kid with a motor mouth. I'm going with four out of five and a recommendation not to miss Juno, it's one of those rare films that'll stay in your head and your heart for days after you've seen it.

My favourite of the five films that were nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this year, and a winner even if it didn't take home the award.

Rating: 4 / 5 (Very Good)

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