How can you not love “Juno?” It is exactly what an independent comedy should look like. From the writing, to the direction, to the performances, to the wonderful soundtrack, “Juno” is as charming a movie as you’re going to see.

 

Directed by Jason Reitman, “Juno” follows the title character of Juno MacGuff, played by actress Ellen Page, a 16-year-old girl who becomes pregnant after losing her virginity to her long-time friend, Paulie Bleaker, played by Michael Cera. In the film, we experience the intimate relationships Juno has with Bleaker, her parents, her friends, her classmates, and the adoptive parents of her unborn child. This piece is heavily character driven, and by the end we feel as if we actually know Juno. She is fully fleshed out, fully developed, and impossible not to like.

 

Teen pregnancy is an odd subject for a comedy, but the humor works because, like all good humor, it comes from character. Writer Diablo Cody presents sharply drawn portraits of each character, and when the jokes do come, they feel credible and honest based on the characters that have been developed through out the film.

(Related: Screenwriter Profile — Diablo Cody)

 

Not much action takes place in “Juno.” This is not a plot driven film. Rather, it is a slice out of this girl’s life. A rather dramatic slice, but not one with twists or plot points that feel unrealistic or overly produced. Both Cody and Reitman deserve major credit in that regard.

 

And really, Cody and Reitman both deserve credit for the entirety of this marvelous film. “Juno” is a classic example of two entirely original minds coming together to make one great film. Cody’s sensibilities as a writer match perfectly with Reitman’s as a director, and the result of their collaboration has been two fantastic films — the other being “Young Adult,” which is every bit as good as “Juno.”

 

Of course, though, they could not have made “Juno” without their tremendously talented cast. Page is sublime; this is her best role to date, and the awkward chemistry she has with Cera is a joy to watch. J.K. Simmons is hilarious in a comedic role as Juno’s father, and Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman bring a lot of depth to the film as the soon-to-be adoptive parents of the unborn child.

 

No other writer, director, cast, or crew could have made “Juno” better than what was released in 2007. This group of filmmakers captured lightning in a bottle on this film, and the result is pure movie magic.

 

“Juno” is a perfect movie experience, one of only a few. There isn’t a line or a shot that should be changed. It is brilliant from start to finish, and is one everyone should seek out. You won’t regret it.– 4/4

 

Have you seen “Juno?” What do you think? Let me know in the comments below.