I recently read the screenplay to the fabulous teenage comedy, Juno. Here are my thoughts.
Juno is an unconventional pro life story set upon the shoulders of a teenage high school student who is pregnant at a young age. The screenplay fools the audience into thinking this is just your ordinary teenage Napoleon Dynamite-esque comedy at first. But throughout the screenplay you begin to discover it is really about human interactions, with a humorous and sometimes seemingly sacrilegious tone.
I noticed throughout the screenplay that the bit characters had more lines, and thus I noticed and paid them more attention, than I did when I watched the movie previously. I was also surprised by the pacing of the screenplay, for a 95 pages I felt that the screenplay moved along well, but some pages with long passages of dialog seemed to drag out. However, what is forgiving about the dialog is the individual tone each of the characters seem to possess. From Juno herself to the neighbor lady, to Bleeker, to Bren, Vanessa, and Mark, they all have a very unique voice. Vanessa would not have been as interesting of a character if it were not for Jennifer Garner.
I disliked Bren when I saw the movie, but each time I watch the film I like her a little more and more. When reading the screenplay I liked her even more. The ultrasound scene is possible one of my favorite scenes in the entire screenplay. Even though Bren is not the main character that is her shining, SAVE THE CAT moment, that I enjoy every time. She even seemed to squeeze out a few more laughs from me than I expected. I love the line, “Oh, go fly a kite.”
Possibly the one thing that bothers me about Juno is the character of Juno. She is not your typical heroine, and does not have your typical reaction to pregnancy. In the film Ellen Page does a good job of conveying a girl who is not worried, but this is not typical of the teenage pregnancy. Perhaps, that is an additional layer to the character, but something that often irritates me. This is a big, huge, gigantic event in your life and not until at the end of the screenplay does she really begin to care. I guess, while writing my reaction I have begun to see that the way Juno changes is that in the end she cares and might take life a little more seriously.