Sunday, January 20, 2008


TOOTSE (1982) was the first major movie I saw featuring a single woman who had a child out of wedlock, presented as a matter of fact, no biggie. The baby isn’t even part of the plot. The situation mirrored the real life of Jessica Lange who played that role in TOOTSOE. Flash forward to the 21st century and unwed motherhood has hit the zeitgeist (see,, et al.).

The latest entry in the series is JUNO, starring Ellen Page as Juno, a 16-year-old who decides to have her baby but give it up for adoption. Also starring are Michael Cera as the Dad, J.K. Simmons as her father, and Allison Janney as the good stepmother. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner are the rich couple who want to adopt Juno’s baby.

Juno has a wicked sense of humor that she inherited from Dad. I can’t say enough about J. K. Simmons (J. Jonah Jameson from the SPIDERMAN trilogy), who is perfect as Mac MacGuff, military veteran turned HVAC repairman, who can tell Juno with a squint that she’s an idiot but he loves her. He’s the rock of the movie.

There’s a subversive flashback shown with voiceover of a sex ed instructor using a banana to teach the boys and girls how to put on a condom. I call it subversive because it illustrates how schools taught sex but not love. JUNO fills in that missing lesson, a primer on how love is the answer, at least when it comes to bringing a life into the world. A rocking soundtrack helps too.

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