Credit Page for her pitch-perfect performance as a maverick teen who's so unlike many of her peers and yet very much like them, too. Sixteen-year-old Juno is a mouthy handful, yet she's also smart and soulful, warm and witty, and she actively searches for answers -- which makes her a refreshing character amid many other movies' disinterested, disaffected teens. She's cut from Gilmore Girls cloth, older than her years but still unsure of her direction. The beauty of the movie is how relationships that initially seem clear-cut -- Juno and her parents, Juno and Vanessa, Juno and Mark, Mark and Vanessa and, finally, Juno and Paulie -- grow more complex and, as a result, more fascinating. For all her bravado, it's soon apparent that Juno really is still a kid when she tells her father, "I don't really know what kind of girl I am." She's been so distant and sardonic -- she says things like "I'm a legend. They call me the cautionary whale" -- that when she breaks down, it's all the more moving.
The rest of the cast is also strong. Jason Bateman is stupendous, and in fact, everyone appears to be on their best game. Screenwriter Diablo Cody's dialogue snaps and scores; her people sound and feel real but are infinitely more interesting than we are. The only quibble, and it's a small one, may be that Juno sometimes feels self-consciously cool. But if that's all there is to offend, then may moviegoers have more "offensive" films like this in their future.