Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Juno

I liked an awful lot about Juno. It's not unproblematic in some respects, but I liked the way that it dealt with its subject matter.

One of my favourite things about the film was the strength of mind and confidence of the protagonist: she made her own choices, without shirking or bleating. Contrary to the clich├ęs one might expect from a film covering a topic like teenage pregnancy, her parents, her friend & Bleeker (the father) supported her no matter what. Yet it was her alone taking the hard decisions and steering her own course.

The family & friend relationships and interactions make this a feel-good movie. I liked that the step-mother was not a wicked witch figure, but truly loved Juno and would fight for her. I liked the portrayal of the father as well.

I liked that the convention of jock vs geek/cheerleader vs indie stereotypes was ignored or subverted. Not ever having experienced the US school system and not knowing how true to life these conventions may or may not be, it was refreshing to have a different perspective, where teen-castes were not so sharply delineated. There was over-lap and friendly interplay between groups, instead of the daggers-drawn snobbery commonly depicted.

I liked that Juno did not regret the sex and remembered it joyously; I liked that she was the instigator and wasn't pushed into it nor was ashamed afterwards, which would be so tempting a scenario for this type of film. At the same time, I didn't feel it glamourised teenage sexual activity. It did treat its audience as though they have brains in their heads, no hectoring or lecturing.

Spoiler in background colour: I liked that when the potential adoptive parents split up, that the woman was still seen by Juno as a suitable parent and that the non-traditional adoption went through.

All in all, there was a lot to like about this film. I did feel the film glossed over the option of abortion too easily and nor was I clear on whether contraception failed or why they used none, but it would probably have been a much heavier movie had it dealt with this at length.

No comments: