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.