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I never fully understood how pertinent a soundtrack can be to a film until I saw the comedy-drama Juno. One of the best coming-of-age movies of the early 2000s, this critically-acclaimed film would not be what it is without its soundtrack. I first watched this movie in middle school and I was immediately hit by how the songs in the film perfectly captured the essence of the characters and elevated the viewing experience. The titular character Juno, played by Elliot Page, is undergoing teen pregnancy and navigating adolescence opposite her best friend Paulie Bleeker, played by Michael Cera. Juno is an eccentric, opinionated, and loving teenage girl; expressing her personality through music was no simple feat. Juno’s soundtrack is mostly comprised of indie rock songs and much of the music is performed by Kimya Dawson and two of their bands, Moldy Peaches and Antsy Pants. Not only is Kimya’s music the perfect representation of Juno’s personality, Elliot Page actually recommended that Kimya’s music be included in the film after director Jason Reitman asked him what Juno would listen to. This connection between Juno’s character and the soundtrack elevates my experience each time I watch this film because it feels like nothing less than a work of art. Kimya’s style of singing, quirky instrumentation, and clever lyricism makes the inclusion of these songs a phenomenal choice by Juno’s production. 

I have three favorite songs from Juno’s soundtrack. The first, titled “Tire Swing,” illuminates Juno’s idiosyncratic personality and the random nature of her thought processes. In this song, Kimya utilizes their typical soft-spoken and staccato style to simultaneously encapsulate the heavy emotions of Juno’s pregnancy with the levity that Juno carries with her. This is encapsulated in the line “if I stay in one place I lose my mind. I’m a pretty impossible lady to be with. Joey never met a bike that he didn’t wanna ride and I never met a Toby that I didn’t like.” 

Another one of my favorite Kimya Dawson songs used in this film is “Anyone Else but You.” A great representation of the friendship Juno has with Paulie Bleeker, this song has the same unique and authentically-imperfect characteristics that Juno herself brings to her relationships. My favorite line is perhaps “here is the church and here is the steeple. We sure are cute for two ugly people. I don’t see what anyone can see in anyone else, but you.” This song is particularly special because Elliot Page and Michael Cera reprise it themselves in a cover shown at the end of the film. 

My third favorite song from Juno’s soundtrack is a classic and well-loved tune from the ‘70s. Barry Louis Polisar’s “All I Want Is You” is a brilliant addition to this movie. Unassuming and contagiously joyful all at once, Polisar’s song conveys Juno and Paulie’s simple love. With lyrics such as “if I was a flower growing wild and free, all I’d want is you to be my sweet honey bee” and “if you were a castle, I’d be your moat. And if you were an ocean, I’d learn to float,” this delightful song is a great fit for Juno

Every time I watch this film, I am impressed with the thought and talent that went into crafting this soundtrack. Juno will not soon be forgotten for its excellence in seamlessly weaving together story and song.

Elizabeth is a Texas native now living in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and is excited to be a first-year student at Denison. She is majoring in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics and looks forward to studying abroad. Elizabeth most enjoys spending time outdoors, camping with friends, and scuba diving. A big fan of The Grateful Dead, you can find her always listening to music or playing the guitar.
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