Thursday, January 31, 2008

A fresh take on an old, old story

Went to see Juno on the weekend. It was quirky, countercultural. With a good message about compromise, I thought. I liked it. Juno, the protagonist, is sassy and witty. SBS reviewer Tim Hunter says, "it's her disarming charm that makes you fall in love with her". Maybe she is a bit too smart for her own good, but then at 16, who isnt? My favourite line is after Juno tells her parents that she is pregnant and her dad asks "Who is the kid?" (meaning who is the father of the baby). Juno says, "The-the baby? I don't really know much about it other than, I mean, it has fingernails, allegedly." Another great line is in a pivotal scene: she comes home late after discovering that the perfect parents she had chosen for her baby are not so perfect afterall. Her Dad says, "Where have you been?" To which Juno replies, "oh, out dealing with something way beyond my maturity level". The juxtaposition in the film of immaturity and growing maturity is quite beautiful: Bleeker the father of the baby still sleeping in his childhood racing car bed, Juno calling a women's health clinic on a toy hamburger phone. It was really good to see a film where growing up doesnt need to be hurried and a sixteen year old can make choices that enables her to enjoy that stage of her life rather than wanting to fast forward to the next stage of development. The character of thirty something year old Mark, acting like a teenager, wistfully longing for the hipness of his youth, makes the point that each stage of life is to be lived fully and cherished, because there is no going back. Juno's family were refreshingly earthy and likeable. Integrous. They're ordinary, honest, convincingly authentic. The scenes that showed the relationship between Juno and her father and Juno and her step mother were especially delightful. The soundtrack suits: it is simple, whimsical, 'dirtmusic'. Despite the film's subject matter, there is no judgement, no moralising, no didactacism. It is refreshing, fun and generous.