JUNO (it moved!)



{Here be spoilers}

I think Michael Cera is possibly the funniest little white boy in the world so when I heard that he and Ellen Page, aka Kitty from X-men, were making a movie together–i pinched myself to make sure i wasn’t dreaming. And then i saw it. What. Happened.

Screenwriter (and now, Academy Award winner) Diablo Cody seems to have done a stellar job writing a revisionist history of teenagery. Juno was inspired by the real life of Ms. Cody’s BFF in high school, but I have to wonder where fact and fiction intersect; when does Juno become more archetype and less reality? Her character is simultaneously wise yet childlike, cynically quick-witted yet altruistically optimistic, deep yet painfully shallow, and in the end, this is what tears this movie apart. I’m sure the argument goes something like “adolescence in America has become something of a paradox and this movie epitomizes the shocking maturity of American youngsters.” Uh-huh. Counterpoint: Scary Movie, Epic Movie, Date Movie, Talladega Nights: the Ballad of Ricky Bobby, John Tucker Must Die, Good Luck Chuck, I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, should I keep going? The one positive thing I can say for the movie is that it trys to portray women. The characters, though stunted, spoke volumes about the diversity of women and women’s experiences within even this small sect of society. It shocked me that in the end I was rooting for Vanessa, played by Sydney BristowJennifer Garner. It was refreshing to see a candid [dare i say believable?] portrayal of suburban household dynamics. The dumbest decision the studio made was to shoehorn monster talent into minor roles, see: Allison Janney, JK Simmons, and Rainn Wilson. These characters were phenomenal and helped, if only slightly, the audience believe that Juno could have developed the way she had. And now comes the topic of .thepregnancy. Many have derided this film for proffering an unrealistic version of adoption, a process that is usually fraught which Juno dismisses with her witty over-slanged one-liners. I can’t think of a single person who would call Planned Parenthood to “procure a hasty abortion” only to run screaming from the clinic because of all the scraping of fingernails and then “realize” that adoption is best and find prospective parents in the dime shopper? I realize that she’s 16, but how shallow and flighty can Juno be if she’s also supposed to be this selfless Ghandi? {again, “the paradox” i suppose} Then she gives birth and cries and HAS SEX?? I for one seriously doubt that she would have unprotected sex with Bleeker in a rocking chair in the hospital just hours after giving birth.

But you don’t have to take my word for it:

http://movies.nytimes.com/2007/12/05/movies/05juno.html This author reminds me that: “Despite what most products of the Hollywood comedy boys’ club would have you believe, it is possible to possess both a uterus and a sense of humor.” Kudos to Diablo Cody for being a woman, making a funny movie with mass appeal AND Academy approval. Juno also shares with Knocked Up an underlying theme, a message that is not anti-abortion but rather pro-adulthood. It follows its heroine — and by the end she has earned that title — on a twisty path toward responsibility and greater self-understanding.” I haven’t decided if I agree with this sentiment or not.
http://wetfeet.typepad.com/wet_feet/2008/02/its-just-a-movi.html Fellow blogger Wet Feet addresses the issue of adoption. “The problem with what Juno portrays is that it’s vintage adoption mythology straight from the “baby scoop era” that’s been refashioned for a new generation. If there was any kind of counterpoint in mainstream culture it wouldn’t be such a big deal. For most people, Juno just confirms eveything they already thought about relinquishment- that the pain is negligible and most often for the best. If someone made a movie about teenagers and how smoking is so cool, you can bet they wouldn’t be so dismissive of the effects of images in media. Isn’t that why it’s so controversial to have a beloved character smoke in a tv show or a film? Because the image might influence impressionable minds?”
ok, one more: http://www.ew.com/ew/article/0,,20163026,00.html This author closes with a strange, backhanded sentiment: “The old-school feminist in me wishes Juno spent more time, even a tart sentence or two, acknowledging that the options taken for granted by this one attractive, articulate teen are in fact hard-won, precious rights, and need to be guarded by a new-generation army of Junos and Bleekers, spreading the word by text message as well as by hamburger phone. Separate but equal truth: This movie is so delightful and good-hearted a portrait of the kind of new-generation army I’d like to hang with that I accept the admonition ”Silencio, old woman.”” WTF lady? When is the last time you heard an army described as delightful?
Please share your thoughts if you’ve seen the flick!