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  • Daniel Rae

Juno Review


"Juno", Mandate Pictures, 2007


A quaint independent teen drama that explores the naivety of youth, using the shell of its genre to untangle the awkward middle ground of maturity and responsibility that comes with young adulthood, sometimes through deceptively dark tangents in the narrative the audience never expects.

The way in which Reitman explores this subject matter is intriguing. Along with the manner in how the diegesis unfolds, its story is hung by a strong juxtaposition between the quirky dynamic between its characters/its grounded yet exuberant colour palette and the flippant ideology that the protagonist and the suburban world around her have towards the notion of childbirth. Reinforced by the folky, sing-songy nature of its soundtrack that focusses solely on the love of a blonded life, this grounds a contemplative aesthetic that only provides audiences with a glimpse of the systemic social groundworks that appears to legitimise this ideology. This can be seen with the repetition of particular types of imagery, such as with the team of runners jogging pass - although its presented through the sharply droll dialogue striking a humorously crude tone, this also highlights an almost primal sense of energy for sex. This underbelly of restlessness is not only an effective tool in brandishing the line of identification with Juno, but also in maintaining the room for wider reading beyond this privileged gaze that the character's narrative voiceover paves the way for. This vapid approach towards the treatment that cracks apart the harmoniously carefree feel of the film is something that I found to be very emotionally engaging, almost fighting back at the genre tropes that provides its framework. Although Juno feels like a caricature invented by Reitman and his team to navigate the subtext, her character is brilliantly written and performed - her likably brattish and buoyant attitude makes her an effective vehicle in exploring the insecurity shared by both the working and middle classes, poignantly underlining the emotional turmoil that comes with responsibility in a very human way, especially with how tone is used and subverted between her and Jason Bateman's Mark.

Whilst I find the familiar sense of structure and pacing of the narrative to undercut the originality and wit of the screenplay, I cant help but find the third act to be heartwarming in the purest sense, once again playing back towards the melodramatic tropes of the genre that allowed it to exist.


4.5/5 Stars

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