Wednesday, January 16, 2008


Have you heard about the indie movie "Juno"? All the teenage girls I know (including the one with whom I live) love it. Roger Ebert loved it, too. It's the sweet, sassy, heartbreaking story of a girl who decides to have sex with her best friend, gets pregnant, then decides to carry the baby and give to an adopting couple.

"Juno" is creating a rumble of controversy among women and mother of teens. Does it glorify teen pregnancy by having a wise-cracking cool kid carry a baby and seem ok at the end? Is the film anti-abortion because Juno decides not to have one, or pro-choice because Juno considers it? Shouldn't Juno be more, um, chastened by her experiences?

I've asked my girl a couple of times what she thinks of the movie. I also asked her to read Katha Pollitt's op piece in The Nation. Pollitt definitely falls into the category of thinking "Juno" glamorized teen pregnancy by having it (and the eponymous star) be so cool.

Annie scoffed at both Pollitt's opinion and the piece. She doesn't think the movie makes being pregnant seem cool in the least, though she loves the character Juno. Nor did she think the movie encouraged girls to take charge, have sex, and manage a pregnancy. "That never occurred to me."

I think Juno is appealing to her (and her friends) because Juno is funny and independent, yet sobbed in her hospital bed after giving birth and giving her baby up. She took responsibility for her actions, but didn't pretend to be a grownup about it all. She stayed who she was throughout this life-changing event, which is a very hard thing for girls to do.

Me? I sobbed through the second half of the movie, as Juno watches grownups fall apart and tries to hold it together. As she gives birth. As she cries, then moves on. Was she chastened enough? What, did she need to wear a scarlet B on her t-shirt the rest of her teen life and give sermons on having learned her lesson? She was a thoughtful character who obviously felt deeply about doing the right thing for this baby who came through her life and left it. Can there be any doubt that it changed yet, yet left her still a kid?

Soundtrack is fun, too, if you like funky-twangy.



Blogger Suna said...

My entire family just loved it. The teens were so REAL--they sounded like the people in my life, not movie actors. We had lots of good "what if" discussion after seeing it, too. Juno is probably my favorite movie of the past decade.

8:59 AM  

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