Posted at 8:30 AM on December 23, 2007
by Euan Kerr
The family went to see "Juno" last night. It's rare that I see a movie twice nowadays, particularly in the theater, but this one was worth it, if only to watch the kids react to some of the lines.
What I found intriguing was how during one particular scene (the one between Ellen Page and Jason Bateman which anyone who has seen the film will remember) people in the audience began groaning or sharply drawing in breath. Malcolm the 17 year old started waving his hands to ward off the bad vibes.
It's unusual to get such a strong reaction from an audience, and it speaks to the powerful empathy Diablo Cody's characters draw from audiences.
One thing though: both Sarah and Jane pointed out the lack of cell phones in the film. They're pretty much ubiquitous amongst teenagers nowadays, but only appear briefly in the film. It would have probably changed the dynamic of the story a great deal, and I didn't miss them, but they both said it bothered them a little.
The same thing struck me about cell phones. In fact, the whole movie felt a few years off. For instance, in Jason Bateman's movie collection, you see VHS tapes . . . not DVDs. He burns Juno a CD but she doesn't just buy Sonic Youth tracks from iTunes . . . she buys an album. Even some of Juno's references, like "Thudercats are go!" seem a tad early for someone who is 17 in 2007 to be making (though with the internet and Cartoon Network it's certainly possible). My guess is that the film is actually set a few years ago. Sometime around 2000.
It seems strange that a movie would be set in the near present but not the present, but in this case, it felt right. It gave the film a slightly nostalgic edge to it without being a retro film about a bygone decade.
Or maybe they just have poor cell phone reception in Juno's town.