The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday December 2nd

Heartfelt 'Juno' turns touchy into touching

With teen pregnancies (Jamie Lynn Spears) in the public eye, a comedy about a girl barely old enough to drive having a baby could raise an eyebrow or two. But to attack the film for sending undesirable messages to teenage girls would be a vast oversimplification. "Juno" is a thoughtful and funny film that creates complex characters capable of tackling tough themes while maintaining the off-beat humor set from the start. That a storyline about teenage pregnancy avoids both dramatic clichés and distasteful humor is a testament to Diablo Cody's unique and clever writing. Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) is a 16-year-old girl who becomes pregnant after a one-time encounter with her best friend, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). She decides to keep the baby and goes in search of adoptive parents. As her situation sinks in, the shock wears off and Juno's sharp wit and mature strength blend well in the world of surprised adults. Ellen Page is remarkable as the sardonic Juno. She delivers her quips with ease and her youthful frame is the perfect contrast to the adult world she is pushed into. Page expertly conveys the contradictions that exist in the character. Juno is an exaggerated character in a serious situation, but her many quirks prevent her from becoming larger than life. A role that could have easily become a demonstration of unusual maturity is complicated by reminders of Juno's age. She is the kind of girl who wittily retorts with inspiring ease, all while chatting on her hamburger phone and sipping on a blue Slurpee. The rest of the cast is well constructed from Juno's unorthodox family to the yuppies she selects to raise her baby. Jennifer Garner shines as the uptight, eager mother-to-be Vanessa. Even in a simple scene such as choosing what shade of yellow to paint the nursery, Garner conveys the intense desires and disappointments of a woman unable to have children of her own. While the plot of "Juno" centers around a taboo theme, the brilliance of the film is that while the pregnancy initially seems to be the focus, it becomes a mere undertone for the hilarious and moving development of its characters. Contact the Diversions Editor at dive@unc.edu


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