A self-sufficient teenage girl navigates her way through an unplanned pregnancy in her own unique style. Oscar winner for Best Original Screenplay.
When she becomes unexpectedly pregnant by a friend, 16-year-old Juno MacGuff decides to give her baby for adoption to the “perfect couple” she finds in a classified ad. While navigating her pregnancy, she bonds with the father-to-be (both of them) and learns more about herself and some real truths about adulthood (like that we don’t know what we’re doing either) than she bargained for.
Elliot Page as Juno MacGuff
Elliot Page has made two of my favorite movies, this and 2010’s Whip It! He’s a pro at biting sarcasm and incredible vulnerability, which is the perfect combination for this character. Despite her clever observations, Juno is always very much a regular teenager.
Michael Cera as Paulie Bleeker
Bleeker is one of Juno’s best friends and is pretty bland in my opinion, but he and Juno have a lot in common, and I don’t know, is there much to choose from in suburban Minnesota? But Bleeker is a super nice and dependable kid, and I suspect that’s more of an attraction than Juno realizes.
Jennifer Garner as Vanessa Loring
There’s knowing Jennifer Garner is good, and then there’s seeing her kill it in this small and fairly thankless role as the uptight Vanessa, who’s dying to adopt a baby. Every time she’s on screen, I’m mesmerized by how great she is at portraying every single emotion.
Jason Bateman as Mark Loring
My favorite Jason Bateman roles are when he plays blatant and unrepentant douchebags, like in The Sweetest Thing, and Up In the Air. Mark Loring is more like what the dudes I had crushes on in high school and college probably grew up to be. I find that far more disturbing.
Allison Janney as Bren MacGuff
Can you even believe this embarrassment of riches? Allison Janney is the greatest, always, the end. As Bren, she could be a stereotype of a stepmother, but one of the things I love about this movie is that almost no one in this movie is completely a stereotype, or entirely what you expect them to be. Also, shoutout to Bren for being one of my fellow weird Unitarians.
J.K. Simmons as Mac MacGuff
J.K. Simmons is in EVERYTHING, and I really ain’t mad about it. Even in small parts, like season four of Veronica Mars, his impeccable five minute performance in Up In the Air, and in Juno, where he joins the ranks of the seriously great movie dads, he elevates everything.
Couch-Sharing Capability: Dream Big
Juno is the best of both worlds, a romance, and a family movie. The sex scene is mercifully brief, so my 12 year-old only barely had to cover his eyes. Juno’s parents are so damned practical, and all of the relationships feel incredibly authentic. My favorite part is the love story, but not the one you’re thinking of.
Recommended Level of Inebriation: Strictly Slushies
Since Juno is up the spout, it’s strictly giant blue slushies for her. As far as themed drinks go, it’s a solid choice. Although, if overly precocious music is not your jam, you may need to opt for the Maker’s Mark, straight up.
Use of Your Streaming Subscription: Wizard
This first screenplay by Diablo Cody (also known for Young Adult, Jennifer’s Body, and Tully), is funny, and witty, and far more nuanced than you expect, given the initial excessively quirky dialogue. This is the movie Knocked-Up (released the same year) could have been. I’d like to have seen Juno spend a little more time considering all of her options, but I get that it’s difficult to fit everything into the heartwarming story they wanted to tell. And Juno is heartwarming, but my favorite thing about it is how the characters frequently react in unexpected ways despite the sometimes predictable things that happen to them.
It’s hard to imagine there are still people out there who haven’t seen this movie, but even if you have, I highly recommend the revisit.