MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +3

Content: +1/2

Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J. K. Simmons. Comedy/drama. Written by Diablo Cody. Directed by Jason Reitman. Opens in limited release 12/5/07

FILM SYNOPSIS: A smart teen becomes pregnant after her first sexual encounter and decides to have the baby, giving it up to an adoptive perfect couple.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Starting out with the same cynical attitude we've seen in a jillion teen angst movies, intermingled with lots of biting humor, the film soon reveals a perceptive look at today's high school crowd, with the lead rather blasť about her world until grownup situations take charge of her emotions. As soon as Juno discovers she's pregnant, her first notion is to have an abortion (tells you where the society is at, doesn't it?), but without the filmmakers attempting a flagrant pro-life statement, the sanctity of unborn life quickly becomes apparent.

Ellen Page comes across as a young Janeane Garofalo, sharp tongued and quick witted, but the actress, who last year starred in Hard Candy, as a Lolita type who traps a pedophile in his own home and ruins his life, here allows a vulnerability to shine through her New Millennium toughness. Ms. Page gives a three-dimensional performance as a teenager smarter than her peers in many ways, yet still unaware of the complexities of adulthood. Juno is funny, moving, and completely engaging. That said, it does contain some objectionable material now common in theatrical releases. Please read the content (the reason for the rating).

If you do not wish to support a film with this content, try my suggested DVD Alternative: March of the Penguins. In the Antarctic, every March, the quest begins for penguins to find the perfect mate and start a family. This courtship begins with a long journey a trek that will take hundreds of the tuxedo-suited birds across seventy miles of frozen tundra to a location where the courtship will begin. Its rated G and though it depicts harsh life and death struggles, it does so in a family-friendly way. Its full of impressive, almost unworldly locations and amazing cinematography, and most importantly, it sends a powerful message concerning the importance of life. Nature is telling us about the sanctity of life. In a time when audiences are subjected to pro messages concerning euthanasia (Million Dollar Baby, The Sea Inside), the need for abortion (Vera Drake), and desensitizing images of violence toward our fellow man (most films), here is a film that reveals creatures in the wild sacrificing all in order to preserve life. This may sound like a strange alternative, but it is a film that shows the sanctity of life.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright
Fox Searchlight

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: There are several comic sexual comments and references to the unborn baby that cheapen the sex act and new life. That said, those comments are used to establish a youthful ignorance until the sanctity of life takes prominence in the leads thinking.

Obscene Language: Around 20 obscenities, mostly the s-word, with a couple of f-words also thrown in by the teenage lead. Some of this language is spoken in front of the girls parents, as if this were now acceptable speech.

Profanity: There may have been an oh my God spoken but I caught no other misuse of Gods name. The girl says Geez a couple of times, but I didnt hear Christs name spoken.

Violence: None

Sex: We see a brief scene leading up to sex between the two teens, with the camera on her legs as she drops her briefs, but the situation does not become graphic or exploitive.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: Several sexual conversations, some serious, some done for humor.

Drugs: Some social drinking not by the teens.

Other: None

Running Time: 91 minutes
Intended Audience: Teens and Older

Click HERE for a PRINTER-FRIENDLY version of this review.