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Back in 2007, a quirky indie flick called Juno premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and, to everyone’s surprise, received a standing ovation.
The unexpected box office hit tells the story of 16-year-old Juno MacGuff, played by Ellen Page, who gets pregnant with her friend Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera)’s baby. The film became a cultural phenomenon, offering a different, positive perspective on teen pregnancy—even going on to win the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay—yet it’s the film’s music that has lingered with audiences over the last decade.
The film’s indie folk soundtrack played a central role in establishing its overall vibe. The film’s director Jason Reitman originally had the soundtrack being more glam rock as he felt Juno would relate to that music most, but Page suggested The Moldy Peaches instead, setting the tone for the film and soundtrack’s quirky vibe.
And it’s probably for the best that Page did. Ten years later, Juno’s music remains a standout and, in honour of its anniversary, here are some of Juno’s most memorable music moments.
For those who haven’t watched the film in a while, I’m sure you can still remember this scene being the pinnacle of high school awkwardness. While it was definitely uncomfortable, Juno and Bleeker’s sex scene, set to Astrud Gilberto’s “Once I Loved,” also plays to the wholesomeness that comes with being a high school teenager in love.
The combination of the upbeat and lighthearted “Tree Hugger” mixed with the slower, soulful twang of “So Nice So Smart” highlights the youthfulness of Juno and Bleeker’s situation and the highs of young love. From Bleeker opening his mailbox filled with Tic-Tacs to a very pregnant Juno flipping everyone off while they kiss, this scene is sweet as pie.
Come the middle of the film, Juno is spending a lot of time with her baby’s prospective adoptive parents, especially the hip and relaxed dad-to-be Mark. The two bond over the same music interests and share a moment during Sonic Youth’s “Superstar.” But, Juno soon realizes that his impeccable music taste can’t make up for his lack of responsibility for impending fatherhood. The classic track “Superstar” somehow sums up all these emotions into a single song, highlighting this pivotal moment for Juno.
Cat Power’s “Sea of Love” is a song about meeting a love for the first time. This goes for Juno and Bleeker’s relationship, their relationship to their baby and also adoptive mother Vanessa’s relationship to the baby. Power’s melancholy voice and sweet lyrics encompass everything that’s going on in this scene.
The movie hits an emotional peak in its final scene as all the chaos and confusion goes away and Juno and Bleeker are finally left to sit down and play their guitars together. It’s a scene that takes the film’s plot full circle as they take turns singing the quirky “Anyone Else But You.” Their vocals flow together in a perfectly synced indie duet, leaving audiences with the feeling that the two would make a good team—whether lovers or friends—for years to come.