Saturday, May 24, 2008


Juno DVD, via Netflix. Rated PG-13

The Plot: Juno's junior year starts when she discovers she is pregnant. During the following year, she deals with the reactions of her best friends, the baby's father, her family, and also chooses an adoptive family.

The Good: I think by this point the world has either watched or heard of Juno, so I'm just going to ramble about a few things. So yes, tons of spoilers, if you don't like it, stop reading.

Language: this is one of those love it/hate it movies; is the language real or artificial? Readers, I loved it. I thought it was smart and witty and spot-on. That Juno has surrounded herself with similar people makes sense. At least in terms of Juno, it reminded me of something I learned in English class lo those many years ago -- or maybe it was History. Or maybe I read it in a book. You do the research. Anyway, it was a time during the 17th/18th centuries when it was very cool to go around and say pithy and witty things (ala Oscar Wilde, but I'm pretty sure I'm thinking pre OW), and how people sat at home figuring out things to say when they went out at night.

Now, I'm not saying Juno is sitting home scribbling one-liners to work into conversation. But, I am saying that Juno obviously self-identifies as the smart, quirky loner (look at her choice of phone), and is aware of her language choices.

Audience. While arguably a "teen movie" because Juno is a teen, this is more than a teen movie. An adult watching picks up on things that Juno or other teen audiences may not, in particular, her relationship with the maybe-adoptive father, Mark. The Juno/Mark interaction was spot-on of a girl who thinks she knows what she is doing not being aware of her impact on others because, well, she doesn't have that life experience, as her stepmother points out.

More on Juno/Mark. From her point of view, I think she saw Mark as bit of a fantasy version of her future self; and also, somehow, by linking him back to his "cool roots", a way of making sure her baby had the cool parent Juno describes to her best friend at the start of the adoption process. And, of course, that fantasy is equally what Juno wants for herself as well as who she wants to be.

Message. One of the debates I'd read about this movie concerns its stance about teen sex, abortion, and adoption. Juno is a great film because there is something in here to offer support to almost any side for those issues. It is also nuanced enough and true to the characters and plot, so that it never becomes a "message" movie.

Music. Loved the music, bought the soundtrack. Thought the soundtrack did fit Juno. But I have to disagree that this is the type of music Juno listens to. Juno tells Mark her favorite music is 70s punk; shouldn't the soundtrack have some of those songs? I mean, we never actually see / hear Juno listen to her so-called best music ever. Much as I adore the soundtrack, I wonder what the movie would have been like had it contained the type of music Juno said she likes. Would it have been angrier? Darker?

Happy Ending. This is not a movie about teen pregnancy; it is a movie about a teenage girl, Juno. And she is strong willed and self assured enough that despite many things (including when her own belief that she is always right), she gets her own version of a happy ending. Her baby gets a family; Juno continues with the life she wanted; she gets the boy; she makes her music.


Amy McAuley said...

Jeepers, I got teary-eyed all over again just reading the plot summary on Wikipedia. I loved this movie!

I agree about the music. They should have thrown some Mott the Hoople or other '70s rock in there.

Amy McAuley said...

Just noticed on my own soundtrack that they did throw some Mott the Hoople in there. So, scratch what I said previously. :)

Laini Taylor said...

Hi Liz! Just stopped by to say: Yay! (that you're coming to Portland -- I really hope it works out! Look forward to seeing you!)

(And as for Juno, liked it, but the dialogue in the first half hour did kind of rub me the wrong way, then it got to feeling more believable after that, but everything else about the movie I liked.)

kidlit 08 said...

Oh yeah, and last night, we were watching the Buffy season three premiere and heard your blog title! I didn't know what episode it was from. We bought the complete Buffy recently and are going through it. I'm so excited! After season 2, I've only seen them once, and I'm sure there will be ones that I never saw at all. How exciting!

kidlit 08 said...

(forgot I signed into Kidlit -- that was Laini again. Sorry about all the random comments!)

Liz B said...

I love all the comments..OK half of them are from one person, but still.

I think that, perversely, since I'd read that Juno's dialogue was "too much" I may have had expectations raised for "much" so ended up being quasi relieved.

Also, in my quest to find some info on the soundtrack not having any of the tunes she spoke about with Mark, I found an observation that some of Juno's pop dialogue is wrong. I think it's Juno's error, not the screenwriters; which adds to it that it's part of Juno's character trait to talk like that, almost deliberately so. even if its wrong.

Plus -- for someone to drop all the pop culture references she does, she'd have to watch more tv and movies than I do. Which is pretty scary. Which adds to the fun of her having gotten it wrong a few times.

Yes, fingers are crossed for portland!

Anonymous said...

I've gotten into heated verbal arguments over whether or not the dialog was realistic! I loved this movie so much. Knowing a couple of similarly quirky, smart teens, I didn't find it at all unrealistic - maybe not the norm, but not outside the realm of possibility.

Tarie Sabido said...

I love this movie! I love the characters and I love the dialogue.