But while Page gets the kudos, equal credit for the film's good-natured idiosyncrasy has to go to 25-year-old Kimya Dawson, late of the Moldy Peaches--heretofore best known for releasing an album with a song called "NYC's A Graveyard" on September 11, 2001--whose off-kilter, childlike, speak-singy acoustic songs provide less a soundtrack than a Greek chorus, every bit as intrinsic to the characters' world as Michael Cera's gold, insufficient running shorts. More to the point, Juno makes the shortlist of great movie muse-icals, in which an individual soundtrack artist becomes inseparable from the film itself, both inspiring and inspired by the narrative: Think Cat Stevens and Harold And Maude, Simon and Garfunkel and The Graduate, Aimee Mann and Magnolia, Elliott Smith and Good Will Hunting, the Bee Gees and Saturday Night Fever, or even Seu Jorge's Bowie covers in The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Rather, try and think of any of those movies without each musician.
It's no accident that Juno's final scene is a long, dialogue-free tracking shot of Juno and her baby daddy Bleeker (Cera) dueting on the Moldy Peaches' "Anyone Else But You" outside Bleeker's house. The camera pulls back gingerly as this not-as-innocent-as-they-should-be couple warble the song's impossibly innocent sweet nothings. This coda is the movie's defining "The Shins will change your life" moment, though all the more powerful because it doesn't promise to be anything of the sort. And a year from now, you'll insist it didn't give you chills.
- Jason Reitman