Juno, (12A)

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The young Canadian actress Ellen Page, proving her turn in the stalker satire Hard Candy (2006) was no fluke, plays high-school teen Juno, whose sassy backchat and self-confidence take a major knock when she discovers that she's pregnant.

Repelled by the abortion clinic she applies to, Juno instead decides to have the baby and look for suitable parents to adopt it, not without qualms – "What if they turn out to be, like, evil molesters? Or stage parents?" She settles on an affluent suburban couple, Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) and Mark (Jason Bateman), whose body language with one another suggests trouble ahead, while Juno herself discovers that fobbing off her child's father, fellow student Bleek (Michael Cera), might not be smart or kind.

Jason Reitman's film gets off to a feeble start, but once Diablo Cody's debut script hits its stride the mood becomes assured and the laughs start to flow. What's more, it doesn't always go the way you expect, and her bonding moments with Mark, popstar-turned-jingles-writer ("My, aren't we the sell-out?"), strike generational chords that will appeal to both kids and former kids who still like Mott The Hoople.

Watch the trailer for 'Juno'.

What's also refreshing is its good nature: this is a film that likes all of its characters, not just Juno's oddball parents (JK Simmons, Allison Janney) but even Garner's potentially maddening mom-to-be. Best of all, though, are Page as the Patti Smith-loving heroine who's just slightly less tough than she thinks she is, and Cera as the gangly and disarmingly sweet wannabe boyfriend.

For more clips of Juno and an interview with the films star, Ellen Page, click here