Thursday, December 06, 2007

A Roman Goddess (Juno is).

It only took a few clicks forward into Juno’s initial succession of color-moderated shots before something…before something altogether striking happened. For me, at least.

Before everything began good and not quite proper, before the screenplay sets forth upon its trek of fingersnap dialogue and human conditions; while the majority of the audience members were still sitting back and taking care to properly situate themselves within the frames of deep blue seats, I saw something that really, truly, utterly endeared itself to me.
It got to me.

There sits a boy, there stands a girl. She approaches him, small creases forming on the sides of her mouth, marks of effort formed by hard-earned smiles. They come close. So close that all we can see are mouths surrounded by soft skin, mouths that don’t quite touch, mouths that are just taking a careful moment to breathe heavy and warm.

I see this, and I remember.
There sat a boy, and there stood a girl. The boy was me, the girl was she. Coming together in a series of moments that seem altogether separate while being all together, a myriad of feelings forever encapsulated into a series of steaming breaths. Moments in close-up. Bright eyes, close to mine; quick glances toward the door, in case her lesbian mother might burst in with the hope of catching an untrustworthy boy in the act; mouths on mouths, mouths not on mouths; fingers sliding over smooth spaces, common places that we still could not see from the proximity of our interaction; finally, a sweet voice uttering “Hi,” into the depths of my ear, a word dripping with sweat that tasted sweeter to my ear than that word ever has had the right to be. Yes. We were in love, she and I -- as simply and sweetly and completely as it gets. We were just another pair of ridiculous youngsters, but it was love.

First loves are in soft-focus.

And they are close. And there it was. There was my past, the way that it cannot help but be remembered. After that?
There were jokes.

That’s the beauty of it, you see. Because of all the elements that turn this screenplay by the indefatigable Diablo Cody (copywriter turned stripper turned blogger turned biographer turned screenwriter) into an act of wizardry, the part that makes it so goddamned watchable is that even if it didn’t bother with dredging up slivers of pastlife that make the pretentious blathering of Quarterlife seem as loaded and grating as they actually are, the words present in Juno would still get around to making me laugh like a H-I-L-A-R-I-O-U-S S-I-M-I-L-E when the receptionist at the Abortion Clinic leans in to discreetly reveal that boysenberry-flavored condoms make her boyfriend’s dick “smell like pie.”
Nothin’ says lovin’ / Like somethin’ from the oven.

Which brings us to the baby.
As I appear to not have previously mentioned, the titular character of this earnest little snark-bomb of a movie happens to be exceedingly pregnant for most of the running time. However, separating it from the recent swell of surprisingly high-quality comedies about women who are with child when they would rather not be (the charming Waitress, and the hilarious Knocked Up) Juno manages to differentiate itself: It’s not actually about the baby at all. It’s not quite about motherhood or fatherhood, not quite about buying diapers and cribs, not quite about the choices that we make. It’s about the things that we actually do, when presented with choices that we didn’t make ourselves. With jokes.
And with truth.

Earlier in this year that ends with a series of ferocious films (No Country for Old Men and There Will be Blood come immediately to mind), I had the pleasure of seeing a film that was so, so, so…genuine, in the way that it conveyed human speech-interaction-emotion, the way that it wove it with music and spoke its feelings in such a way that gave us a beautiful taste of something real. Once, that movie was called. It was something special. Juno is something else altogether, but something about the pairing of them…

While Once stood from the pack by being entirely genuine, Juno earns its praise in a similar, yet significantly different manner: by being unwaveringly honest.

There’s ferocity in that, as well. Because while finding traces of reality in the world might be somewhat difficult whilst being distracted by the gaggle of golden colored runners who are continually running through the frame, while girls in high school don’t generally have such silvered tongues that they employ in the midst of Diablo Cody’s charming vulgarity, while the tone of the movie stretches us past the breaking point of things that we might call reality…it never plays a false note. It’s always true, no matter what happens, no matter what words we hear from inside the sizable expanse of Juno’s brain. Yes, even while she’s calling people “douchepackers”. It’s fierce, truth such as this.

It feels right amidst the rest of things, and it breathes warmly into the room of the theatre, bringing with it such a sense of the world and the people in it that when we come to the final, unbroken shot of the movie -- when we came to that, I stared, transfixed, at one of the most romantic images that I’ve seen in a good, long, time. It was like it was reaching out to me, one final gesture, taking a moment to whisper into my ear.



At the request of my friend Jorge, I state this here for no particular reason: Skeet, skeet, skeet. Make it rain.

Take that how you will.

Labels: , , , ,


Blogger Maja said...

just found this ^__^

1:39 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home