Sunday, January 27, 2008

Hi, I'm calling to procure a hasty blog

I went to see Juno the other day, which I really enjoyed. The star really is Diablo Cody's script, which, at times, threatens to become to clever for its own good. However, it never does, in part to fine performances all around. Although Ellen Page has received most of the attention, I was really pleasantly surprised the supporting cast. Jason Bateman, as the gen-X sellout who isn't sure he's ready for adulthood, turned out to be surprisingly touching and vulnerable. And while Jennifer Garner's need for a child starts out as a one-note character, she quickly develops into someone believable that you actually care for.

My favorites, a few days after the fact, are JK Simmons and Alison Janney as Juno's parents. They are probably the most realistic portrayal of teenage parents in any movie that I can think of. It was incredibly refreshing to see parents who actually respected their child's decisions and supported her, rather than going off on the typical rant over the boyfriend. Even when the plot could take a predictable route (and let's face it, the plotline itself isn't anything particularly new), the real-ness of the characters and the snappy dialogue keep it fresh and sweet. It's also the witiness of the script that keeps the ending from disentigrating into complete mush. It's one of the few romantic movies with a happy ending that I really enjoyed.

Heading into the Oscars, I think the script and Ellen Page definitely deserve kudos. Ellen Page really does inhabit the role perfectly, and her comic timing is impressive, particularly considering her other role that blew me away was the creepy, intense girl in Hard Candy. Overall, though, I do think Atonement probably has an edge for Best Picture, given the epic scope and modern narrative twists. The Academy often picks more traditional movies, even when something like Little Miss Sunshine (rightfully) grabs a nomination.

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