Title: Juno (2007 film)
Genres: Comedy, Romance, Drama, Coming-to-age
Director: Jason Reitman
Starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Batemanm, Allison Janney, J. K. Simmons
Rating: 3 stars
Plot (Read a fuller version at Plugged In)
Juno is an independent-minded 16-year-old confronting an unplanned pregnancy and the subsequent events that put pressures of adult life onto her. It’s a funny, quirky and down-to-earth portrayal of the life of this girl, and the families and friends that surround her.
Comments on plot and acting
All the actors are incredibly well-known, and I couldn’t think of anyone else that could have portrayed Juno’s role better. The acting compensated for some flaws (I believe) in the screenplay, such as the lack of connection/relationship between the characters, e.g. Juno and Paulie (who was pretty much absent during Juno’s 9 months of pregnancy). I also feel there could have been a better development into Juno’s relationship with her parents during the pregnancy. The possible adoptive parents, Vanessa and Mark, portrayed wonderfully the role of a seemingly perfect and ambitious couple, desperate to adopt a child.
I loved how, despite the film is centered around Juno’s womanhood, all the characters’s preconceived conceptions change as the plot progresses. Page’s acting gave Juno’s character an aura of lightheartedness; she showed that regardless of how much she had going on in her life, nothing was bound to change who she was. Despite these comments, I couldn’t take my mind off one question:
What was the meaning of all this?
To be completely honest, I found the whole film quite depressing. That probably wasn’t the intention (as it’s a comedy film, after all) but the fact that Juno seemed so oblivious of all the pain, issues and troubles that she would have to go through when she decided to go forth with the pregnancy was mind-boggling. Why didn’t her parents offer to support the child? Why did they agree to give the child up for adoption? Where was Paulie (the father of the child) when Juno was pregnant? Though Juno did state that she wanted to do all this ‘on her own’, the fact that she constantly went around to her possible adoptive parents’ home showed that wanted company.
The fact that Juno could just give up her child, the child she knowingly conceived, up for adoption without even giving him/her a name or so much as looking at him/her when she was born, just didn’t feel right for me. Though Juno decided to keep the baby because she couldn’t go through with the abortion, it feels just as wrong to me for her to just give the child up as soon as she found the seemingly perfect parents. It’s as if she wanted to erase this part of her life after it was ‘done’, and the ending of the film pretty much showed that that’s what she did: gave the child to Vanessa, got back together with Paulie (why?!) and went on with their lives as if the pregnancy had not happened.
I feel like I missed out on something in the film that explains all of this skepticism, but most of the reviews that I’ve skimmed simply praise Ellen Page’s acting. I would re-watch the film just to solve out these questions, but watching it for the first time depressed me so much that I’m not even gonna watch any clips on it.
Have any of you watched it? If so, what did you think? If you haven’t watched it, even though my review is pretty negative, I recommend it just for the purpose of reflecting upon the issues (teenage pregnancy, pro-life/pro-abortion, family) presented in this film.