Friday, January 4, 2008

Juno Doesn't Go Full Term

Posted by Teresa at 3:12 PM
Spoiler Alert: The Ending is Revealed

I just finished seeing the movie Juno because there was some discussion
online if the movie was pro-life or not so I wanted to check it out for myself.
Some are saying it is and others said no. If you see the movie I think it is
pretty clear that the people who made it didn't intend for it to be pro-life
movie. But in art people interpret as they will. One reason I say it probably
wasn't intended to be pro-life because in one point of the movie her friend
even makes a joke about religious couple looking for child.

Let me give you a quick synopsis of the film so you can have some background
before I go on. Juno (played by Ellen Page) is a junior in high school and the
movie begins with her finding out she's pregnant. At first she decides to get
an abortion which is a common choice for her female classmates from what I
gather from the conversation with her friend on the phone. Juno goes to get an
abortion and outside picketing is a classmate who tells her the baby already has
fingernails. When she gets inside the clinic she gets a creepy feeling (I'll let you
see that part) and decides against it. She decides to on adoption and finds a
prospective couple in the Penny Saver.

Much of the talk surrounding the movie has been about teenage pregnancy,
abortion, and adoption. However, the strongest and most consistent theme of
the movie is about maturing into adulthood. The main message of the movie is
about growing up and giving up your infantile dreams. There are two main
characters in the movie that have a whole lot of growing up to do. First is Juno
herself. She uses very casual language even she's sitting down with the lawyer
and the potential adopting parents and they're supposed to be making important
decisions. She really doesn't care about taking care of details of adoption. Let
the adults take care of everything seems to be her attitude. The second person
in the movie who is reluctant to become an adult is Mark (played by Jason Bateman)
who's the prospective adoptive father. He's a musician who has turned to making
music for commercials to make a living. He works from home and wears t-shirts
that you might see on a teenager.

If main theme of the movie is about growing up, I think it missed the mark. I will
tell you why. However, I cannot explain unless I give away the ending. So I'm warning
you: spoiler alert. The reason I believe it didn't fully achieve the adulthood theme
because neither Juno or Mark grow up. Mark divorces his wife and gets to keep his
adolescence longer so he can listen to rock music and watch horror films as much
as he wants. No growing up there. Juno does make a very wise and adult decision to
give her child up for adoption. But what does she do when she's eight months pregnant?
She tells the biological father of the baby, Paulie Bleeker, how much she loves him.
The movie even ends with them back together (although, they were never officially
"a couple") about to go for a bike ride.

I was disappointed in this ending for many reasons. First, their relationship
was such a small portion of the movie that it was so insignificant. I can say
I didn't care if they got back together or not. Second, that ending impressed
upon me that Juno was just going to go back to being just a regular teenager
again, in love with the same boy before she got pregnant. No signs of a hard
lesson learned. I would've like to seen evidence that the experience of a teenage
pregnancy matured her and the last scene with her and Paulie on their bikes didn't
do that for me.

Perhaps a ending where she walks back into school with her head held high
after being judged by fellow students with books on hand and not dressed like
the other teenager girls in jeans and a t-shirts, something less casual. She goes
to her locker and hears fellow classmates in the locker next talking about a cool
rock band, like the conversations she would have with the immature Mark, and
instead of joining in the conversation she walks to class. Because standing around
talking about rock music is a conversation she would have had before the maturing
experiences of having to give up your child up for adoption. Basically, the adults
in the movies stayed adults and the immature stayed where they were.

There's something underneath the issues of abortion and teenage pregnancy
and that's responsibility. Are teenagers responsible enough to practice safe
sex? Has abortion become a quick fix for those who simply don't want to have
the responsibility of a child? Responsibility is usually the realm of adults. That's
why I felt it was important to show a character change from an irresponsible,
immature person to a responsible, mature adult and while the film was on the
verge of showing that, it didn't quite get there.


BNY on 4:27 PM, January 05, 2008 said...

So, I'm not going to read this post until I see the movie ... I'll be back later.


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