I loved Juno. I thought it was a smart, interesting, and real portrayal of teenage pregnancy. What struck me as surprising was that Juno is really a movie for adults about a teenager. It’s more common to see movies about teenagers for teenagers.
There are plenty of positive, even rave reviews of Juno. Mostly the praise centers around fully-formed portrayals of smart teenagers (mostly of Juno and her boyfriend Paulie). Other aspects worthy of praise are the portrayals of the relationship between the adopting parents, the discussion of the difficulties of adoption, and the portrayal of the parent/teen relationship between Juno and her parents.
The negative reviews of Juno – although there are few of them – mostly remark on the “unrealistic” nature of Juno’s wit, that is that the character has an adult’s wit rather than a teenager’s wit. While I sympathize with this critic (particularly the first 15 to 20 minutes seem like one sarcastic, well-timed comment after another), I disagree with it. Almost all of the characters in this movie are particularly witty and sarcastic, and Juno does not seem to be more able in this area than her family and friends. This is probably true of most real teenagers as well – their sarcasm and wit are generally similar to the people who they are surrounded with.
The sarcasm and wit, interestingly, extend to everyone except for Vanessa, the woman who Juno has chosen to be her baby’s adoptive mother. Vanessa is also portrayed as the one most capable parent for the baby – not to say that all of the other characters wouldn’t be passable parents, just not as good as Vanessa. I haven’t heard much discussion about this particular point, and I wonder if the screenwriter, Diablo Cody, meant anything by it?