As you can probably tell from the collage of images that appears below, I thought "Juno" was a great movie. There are a lot of things to like about it, but here are just a few:
- J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney as Juno's father and stepmother. Has Simmons ever been bad in a role? Hell, I can still remember him in the early days of Law and Order. He's never been the lead, as far as I know, but he's always memorable, whether it's as J. Jonah Jameson in the Spider-Man flicks, or the somewhat befuddled CIA boss in "Burn After Reading." Here, he plays a low-key dad who really wishes that his 16-year old daughter wasn't pregnant, but that doesn't mean he's going to freak out about it. He's as supportive as ever, as supportive as he can be, and he still loves to work on all his HVAC stuff. Janney is just as good as what could easily have turned into an "evil stepmother" type of role. She knows that because she's the stepmother, her relationship with Juno is always going to be a certain way. That doesn't stop her from dispensing good, common sense advice, sometimes in a low-key way, and sometimes with an exasperated tone.
- Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner as the would-be adoptive couple. I thought this was some of the best writing and acting in the entire movie. You're set up to think things are going to turn out one way, and then screenwriter Diablo Cody turns everything on its head. And even though you start by feeling sympathetic for one of them and end up being sympathetic to the other, they both come across as very real, likable people, with real problems that won't ever be easy to solve. Bateman is his usual terrific self, but for me the revelation was Garner. From sheer desperation to abject sadness to profound relief and love, she pulls off every emotion in the book.
- The scene where Garner touches the belly of Juno. This is going to sound like the corniest thing in the world, but anyone who has ever touched the belly of a pregnant woman when the baby is doing somersaults inside knows that it is one of the most memorable moments of one's lifetime. And the look on her face is exactly the way it feels - whoa...this is amazing!
- Ellen Page. Yeah, OK - so I'm becoming an Ellen Page groupie, which is probably not something you should admit when you're my age. But she's just amazing in this. What more can one say?
- The music. Classic stuff.
I'll probably think of more later...but that should suffice for now.