Monday, February 11, 2008

Film Journal: Critique the Critic

I recently saw the movie Juno. I thought the movie was brilliant and I wanted to find a review that shared the same opinion. I chose a review by James Berardinelli who is writing for, a movie critic showcase. Berardinelli’s enthusiasm about this “little film that could” (Berardinelli, par. 1) really reflected my feelings about Juno. The film first appeared at a Film Festival in September and from there it moved on to bigger theaters and larger sell-out size of crowds. Directed by Jason Rietman, Juno is definitely not a movie that you would want to miss.
A quick-tounged 16-year-old, Juno MacGruff (Ellen Page), isn’t fazed by much - until she realizes that she’s pregnant. After taking three take-home pregnancy tests, it’s confirmed. Juno’s best friend Pauli, played by Michael Cera, is an avid track runner and now a soon-to-be father. Juno’s initial reaction is to have an abortion. Between the clinic receptionist telling Juno how much she loves blueberry flavored condoms and being told that her baby has fingernails, Juno decides that abortion is not the best choice. Juno finds a seemingly perfect couple, Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman, Jennifer Garner) looking to adopt in a newspaper and contacts them. As the story goes on we fall more in love with Juno’s quirky personality and the challenges that she faces.
Berardinelli is extremely accurate in the way he lovingly describes Juno. “Juno isn't one of those "laugh riots" that will have audience members rolling in the aisles, getting fake popcorn butter and spilled soda all over their clothing. Instead, it's funny in a sassy way - the kind of humor that causes a lot of smiles and chuckles to go along with the occasional stomach-jiggling laugh.” (Berardinelli, par. 4)
Juno makes you realize the simple happinesses that you have in life. It’s a movie about growing up and realizing that not all things go as planned. Even with everything that Juno could look badly upon, she always seems to have a smart comment that brightens the sensitive subjects. “Almost everything that Juno says is worth listening to” (Berardinelli, par. 4)
He compares Juno to movies such as Little Miss Sunshine and Knocked Up. He also makes comparison to Superbad. I really disagree with this comparison because I think that Superbad lacks the smart, thoughtful humor that Juno strives on.
Berardinelli’s review is very complementary to both the actors and the director. Jason Rietman has also directed Thank You for Smoking, another film with an Indie vibe. I’ve tried to watch this movie twice though I haven’t gotten farther than 30 minutes through into it. Michael Cera is one of my favorite actors from the show Arrested Development (Jason Bateman who plays Mark also stars in Arrested Development). “Cera creates the kind of genuine, timid guy who's too rarely seen in teen films” (Berardinelli, par. 5).
Juno is the kind of the film where a viewer almost needs to look for a reason to dislike it for it not to work. It's charming without being saccharine. It's funny without being rude or dishonest. It's smart without being smart-assed. And it's got enough heart to keep the comedic elements in check.” (Berardinelli, par. 6). I think that this statement is a “pea in the pod” when it comes to Juno. "4 1/2 stars out of 5" (Berardinelli)

1 comment:

Ms. Tholen said...

Nice job on your first journal, Julia. Keep up the good work!