Teen pregnancy is not the most thrilling episode in one’s life and I wish no one such an ordeal. In real life it’s best to keep away from it, how you do it, abstain or use contraceptive, it’s your choice. I am not here to preach and neither does Juno.
In many ways Juno breaks a few stereotypes. A sixteen-year old pregnant girl should be scared and depressed, right? Her parents should be after her life, isn’t it? She should be rushed into an abortion! The urbane well to do hen pecked Mark and over zealous Vanessa should be banal and stereotypical city slickers? Well its one hell of a laugh riot that finally breaks the facades and lets us see the inner workings of each of the characters.
Jason Reitman, directs Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman in this quick witted comedy. Juno. The movie has no negative stance on teenage pregnancy rather it chronicles the journey of the 16 year old in these nine months.
Juno, is a smart talking, know all , cocky teenager, who wants to get away from the stigma of being a virgin. She talks her friend Paulie Bleeker into having sex with her, though he is not too keen about it, he relents to her experimentation. We have to remember Juno is a teenager and no matter how hyper verbal she is about everything in life, she makes a poor choice of sex without protection. And of course the price is she is, pregnancy. But hey, it’s Juno who is pregnant, hence totally unruffled and absolutely brave and matter of fact about it. To the surprise of the audience, her parents are also very mature about it. They think about the right course of action without pulling down and reprimanding the sixteen year old in any way.
Though she contemplates abortion initially, she decides to go through with having the baby and placing her/him for adoption and surprise, surprise her parents let her choose (I cant even begin to imagine what could be the consequence of this grave issue in an Indian household!) Anyways, Juno finds a childless couple ready to adopt her own child, in Vanessa and Mark. The initial impression of the couple through Juno’s eyes is that Vanessa is uptight and materialistic and Mark totally henpecked. Yet behind this veneer, Vanessa is unhappy about her life and childlessness; she longs for a bundle of joy. On the contrary Mark is not all that hen pecked after all, he is a manipulative child man, who doesn’t want to grow up, who doesn’t even know if he is ready to be a father. He is in a time capsule of his pubescence and gets attracted to Juno’s youthfulness.
In a crux the movie is all about Juno’s experiences that span across three trimesters and four seasons where she herself matures enough to understand that her know it all attitude masks ignorance and she has a lot to learn. In her pregnancy adventure she gets a peek into the lives of adults. She knows that her choice of adoption has given her the immense power into the lives of affluent people who she could bend in any which way she wants. It is a coming of age movie where the 16 years old fails in an experiment done hastily but finally succeeds in understanding the finer nuances of life.
Juno does not pass any judgements about any of the characters. Though many critics have voiced that this movie glamourises teenage pregnancy and anti abortion rights, it does no such thing. On the contrary, without being judgemental and surmonizing, it brings out the long lasting effects of a not well thought out and hasty decision.
Here’s the motomouth Juno for all of you