Hey readers! My name is Elaina and I am The Front’s spring quarter opinions editor. This quarter I’m going to be writing a weekly film review column. I’ll be taking on classics and new releases in the hopes of writing reviews of my take on the films I watch.
While I have no degree in film, I have taken a few classes, frequent Letterboxd more than Canvas, watch film analyses often, grew up with a film professor for a mom and overall am just obsessed with talking about movies.
To start this quarter off, I will be reviewing Jason Reitman’s 2007 film, "Juno."
“Juno” is Reitman’s second full-length directorial film, starring Elliot Page as Juno MacGuff. The film portrays 16-year-old Juno who finds herself with an unwanted pregnancy and in need of a solution, fast.
The film's opening sequence begins with a late 90s/early 2000s burnt orange velvet living room armchair and leads into an illustrated art overlay of Juno walking to a local convenience store with a giant bottle of Sunny D to receive a pregnancy test while “All I Want is You” by Barry Louis Polisar plays in the background. A test that will soon read “+.”
In addition to “All I Want is You,” the movie offers more charming and catchy songs like “Sea of Love” by Cat Power and “Loose Lips” by Kimya Dawson. The songs fit the chaotic and sarcastic personality of Juno’s character and the film's indie energy.
Juno works with her best friend Leah to find a family to adopt her soon-to-be baby. While looking in the “penny savers” section of a newspaper they find the perfect fit – wannabe rockstar Mark and born-to-be-mom Vanessa Loring, played by Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner.
After finding a solution for her pregnancy, Juno has to tell her parents. Her lovable HVAC dad, played by J.K. Simmons, and her nail tech stepmom, played by Allison Janney, offer complete support and open ears for the life-altering information that is handed to them.
Simmons’ character leaves the audience envious of Juno’s paternal relationship. He offers loving advice and funny quips to cheer Juno on in the unsuspected hardship that is teen pregnancy.
“Juno” elicits a stirring of emotions in the audience as it manages to blend terrible cringes and frustration with great laughs. It is an unconventional coming-of-age movie that still checks all the boxes of the genre. It encapsulates the emotional journey of becoming an adult faster than planned.
The film’s genre grows as Juno does. It begins as a clear-cut comedy with witty commentary and trendy quips from Juno. By the end, the movie reframes itself as a fairly serious dramedy, as Juno grows both physically and emotionally.
The film is structured in a seasonal change, both in the trimesters of Juno’s pregnancy and in the seasons of the year – fall, winter and summer. This thematic design choice allows the audience to feel comforted by the change and growth visually and metaphorically. Juno’s character and her baby grow with the seasons.
While only 20 years old at the time of the film’s release, Elliot Page’s performance is one of the best I’ve seen among young actors. Next to his counterpart, Michael Cera, the two create one of the most entertaining dynamics for teen characters in a film.
While teen pregnancy is often shown in a negative light in media, this film offers a unique twist that allows the characters and the audience to have a sense of optimism with the humor and support that surrounds Juno’s predicament.
“Juno” is the ultimate comfort film that offers a sense of familiarity and relatability. It holds immense nostalgia for me, as I watched it annually growing up, and now, I watch it monthly – and I highly recommend you do too!
Overall, the acting, nostalgia, soundtrack and plot of “Juno” make for one of my all-time favorite films and one of the best indie films to come out of the modern era. This week's film forecast calls for a sunny rating of five stars.
“Juno” is currently streaming on HBO Max or is available to rent on Amazon.
Elaina Johnson (she/her) is a fourth-year political science major who has previously copy edited and been editor-in-chief for The Front. This quarter she is the opinions and outreach editor. She hopes to make engaging stories this quarter and reconnect with the community through various outreach. In her free time outside of The Front, she can be found watching movies, writing chaotic Letterboxd reviews and drinking oat milk chai. She can be reached at email@example.com.