Look, I do get it. I fully appreciate that a film about a girl who gets pregnant, has an early abortion, then manages to move on, would be a pretty short movie. In fact, so short it wouldn't get made. No one wants to know about reality. And certainly in 21st century North America, no one wants to portray abortion as a viable option. Very, very bad form currently.
But when I see this film reviewed as "blazingly truthful" and the pregnant 16 year old central character described as being 'in a pickle', as I did in one review, as if perhaps she'd forgotten a homework assignment and might get detention, I have to admit that the cynic who lurks in my soul gets full rein. This is basically a cutesy film about being pregnant at 16, where despite a few problems, everyone gets to live pretty much happily ever after. Gosh, girl in a pickle comes good! Ahhh!! And apparently everyone in the cinema where I saw it was quite overwhelmed by attacks of the warm fuzzies, except me. Two seats away, a woman slightly older than me was weeping joyfully by the end while behind me, young women were giggling happily as sweet Juno's bump grew. Good grief! Is this really a message we want to give to 16 year olds?
I'm beginning to think I'm something of an oddity. You see, I don't find it 'blazingly truthful' that a bright, resourceful and articulate 16 year old as Juno is portrayed, would be so dumb as to have inadequately protected sex then seem surprised to find herself up the spout. One point of the script is that Juno herself apparently initiated the sex, thought it through in advance in fact, because she was bored. I therefore assume the pregnancy was at least to some extent planned. And if she really had no idea that sex might lead to pregnancy, her parents (portrayed as bemused but supportive), should be excoriated for such inadequate parenting. And if I see one more review which describes Juno as a comedy about growing up 'and the bumps along the way .' (I'm prepared to bet good money on that having been written by a middle aged man), I swear I'm going to run amok in the local mall with a urine dip stick. Being pregnant at 16 isn't a sweet joke, abortion clinics (whatever you think of their morality - and I'm neutral on that) are not run by morons, and while Juno has some amusing one-liners, and a good central performance from Ellen Page, it is basically a deeply flawed, superficial movie which is trying too hard to be cute. It's extremely manipulative.
I'm going to be very controversial and suggest that far from being surprised by an unplanned pregnancy, Juno might actually be a very willful young woman who wants to add pregnancy/childbirth/adoption to her 'experiments-in-living' list. At everyone else's expense. It certainly makes her the center of attention. She wouldn't be the first girl to get pregnant for that reason.
I found the situation between the adoptive parents more convincing. Childless Vanessa (Jennifer Garner) is desperate for a baby. Husband Mark is not so sure, and does at least eventually face up to the truth of his uncertainty by making a break for it. He may be 40 going on 18, but he's being honest about it. And for me the most moving scene in the whole film was when Vanessa held the newborn child in her arms for the first time, having decided to go it alone as a mother anyway. If there is a message to be taken from this movie, it's possibly that becoming a mother when the time is right, is just fine.
A superficial, cutesy, lightweight movie. The fact it was written by a woman is no excuse. I am gobsmacked that it's been nominated.
Comedy / Drama
Comedy / Drama
A tale told over four seasons, starting in autumn when Juno, a 16-year-old high-school junior in Minnesota, discovers she's pregnant after one event in a chair with her best friend, Bleeker. In the waiting room of an abortion clinic, the quirky and whip-sharp Juno decides to give birth and to place the child with an adoptive couple. She finds one in the PennySaver personals, contacts them, tells her dad and step-mother, and carries on with school. The chosen parents, upscale yuppies (one of whom is cool and laid back, the other meticulous and uptight), meet Juno, sign papers, and the year unfolds. Will Juno's plan work, can she improvise, and what about Bleeker?
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August 31, 2011 at 9:22 pm