Although Ellen Page made her film debut in 2002, many people took notice of her strong, terrifying performance in 2005’s “Hard Candy.” While that film introduced her talent to film audiences, her latest film, “Juno” will have them asking for more.
Everyone who experienced awkward high school years can relate to this story of a young woman who is just isn’t a part of the “in crowd.” Her boyfriend, Paulie (Michael Cera) runs track and dresses as if he is still in “Superbad.” During one quiet evening, Juno seduces Paulie and unexpectedly becomes pregnant. Instead of aborting or raising the baby herself, Juno decides to put the child up for adoption with the condition that she select the family that will rear the child.
She and her supportive parents (Allison Janney and J.K. Simmons) settle on a young couple, The Lorings (Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman). The situation becomes complicated when Juno and Mr. Loring begin to spend a little too much time together upsetting Ms. Loring. The film grapples with the dynamics of what it means to be an adult and the responsibility that one must undertake.
If the film didn’t have such a witty script, written by former stripper Diablo Cody or brilliant lead and supporting performances, this movie would have been just another forgettable story. But the stars have aligned to create one of the year’s most refreshing films and a worthy successor to the teen-angst dramas produced by John Hughes in the 1980s.
Just as Page shined in “Hard Candy,” she is equal parts charming and wonderfully confused. Delivering dialogue that sounds and feels so real, Page’s teen spirit shines though as if these are her thoughts, not Cody’s script. We know that Juno won’t get it exactly right, but who in life ever does? It is her internal struggle and realistic outlook that makes spending time with “Juno” such a winning proposition.