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A Comedy About Growing Up...And The Bumps Along the Way. 

Year: 2008 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 12A Cert – Under 12s admitted only with an adult 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Jason Reitman 
Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner  
An image from Juno

Teenage pregnancy is certainly a controversial topic and generally brings to mind images of hard-hitting dramas, commentaries on the dire state of youth today.

Or not. Juno presents us with an entirely heart-warming, genuinely funny take on a tricky issue. This is achieved mostly via a protagonist who is highly intelligent, yet at the same time retains a sense of naïve idealism that reminds us that she is still a child facing a huge, scary experience. Importantly, Juno is never written off as being ‘stupid enough’ to get pregnant. It happens to the clever kids too.

Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is a cynical 16 year-old who gets pregnant after having sex with her best friend Paulie Bleaker (Michael Cera). She decides to give it up for adoption to an affluent couple (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman) who live in a big white house in the suburbs. But as the pregnancy progresses Juno finds that this is not as simple as it sounds. In fact nothing in this world is.

Ellen Page’s performance is deeply touching but then she’s got some great material to work with. The script is hilarious at times, but the pacing of the film makes the humour gentle and prompts contemplation and identification with all of the characters.

Juno inhabits a realm of adolescence that feels both past and present (watch out for the hamburger phone- if you didn’t have one when you were a kid I’m willing to bet that you wanted one!). There are hints of nostalgia but still no doubt that this is a very modern teen who thinks she knows what it’s all about.

But what is really touching is the way this apparently very grown-up teen is revealed to be a child at heart, and by the time her brush with adulthood is over, she is clearly very content to leave this behind and enjoy her adolescence while it lasts. If there is a social message to this film, this is where it lies.

Steph Janes

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Screenings of this film:

2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)
2007/2008 Summer Term (35mm)
2019/2020 Autumn Term (35mm)