Archive for the ‘juno’ Category

Juno

December 9, 2009

What is it?

This seems that someone put “Ghost World”, “Napoleon Dynamite” and an after school special in a blender with just a touch of “The Gilmore Girls” and came out with the kind of delectable diner treat you wish your local 5 star restaurant would serve.

Juno (Ellen Page) is a 16 year old girl living with her dad and step mom. With all the other problems of being a middle of the social ladder teen aged girl, Juno is pregnant. As all public high school educated teens are taught, she first considers abortion. She then decides to give it up for adoption to a couple who are unable to have children of their own.

Whatever this character driven, dialog heavy style of movie making is, I believe Juno makes it an official genre and someone with more clout than me will need to name it. (And once it’s named it can be beat into the ground until we all long for the days when we were not sure how to describe films like “Trust” and “Napoleon Dynamite”).

How was it?

With small town feel, quick witty dialogue, and a track team of maroon and gold clad skinny guys that just all run by every once and a while, this film has great texture and superb story telling.

It is rare to find something fun to watch, though still very emotional. I was unaware that Jason Batman was making a comeback. (I have not seen him since “Teen Wolf Too”) but he is excellent as the cool half of the adoptive yuppie couple (with Jennifer Gardner as his better half). There is a lot here that just seems like general silliness, but has big plot and symbolic payoff, later in the film. Each part is played superbly, the light banter never trivializes, and a cast of odd ball characters never seem distant or made up.

Was it good for Kids?

I did not find this film offensive for the sake of being racy, but no one bothers to take the edge off any of subject matter or the word choice. There is a lot of cussing, though it doesn’t “feel” like “that kind of film”. The consummation scene is very tastefully done and never shows any images that are in themselves wrong to look at. Still it is quite clear what is going on and in what state of dress the characters are in. If, by some chance, you missed it, characters explain it repeatedly later on.

If you are considering this film for your kids, please read what Screenit.com has to say about the content.

What about Spiritual Issues.

When Juno tells her parents that she is pregnant and going to give her baby up for adoption, her step mother (Allison Janney) says that the baby, for this family, will be a miracle “from Jesus”. It may be just thrown in to make her seem odd, but by this point in the film, we are so comfortable with the idea of taking these characters seriously, the line seems to just mean what it says.

When going for an abortion, Juno is met by a fellow student (Valerie Tian) who, in broken English, explains that God does not want her to kill the baby. It all seems silly on the way in, but after she realizes that what is inside of her is alive, all the warnings move from quirky banter to a poignant cry for life.

There is also a joke about adoption and Mosses. They use Mosses as an example of a closed adoption though technically it was accidentally open.

Other than that, there is no direct reference to spirituality, but there are many themes that should make Christians and moralist very happy.

The major theme here, seems to be, responsibility and understanding of your roll in your phase of life. When you add up everything they show us –  sex is fun and has a lot of emotional results, but it’s for married adults and makes babies. Abortion and condoms are shown as pathetic solutions that only trivialize the issue and could only truly be endorsed by the “far gone” among the teen population. Juno does act maturely in dealing with the situation, but this is not “Papa Don’t Preach”. Juno even tells her dad (J.K. Simmons) that she has spent the day, “Dealing with things way beyond my maturity level.” So she looks for loving adults to raise her baby. She goes to her parents for advice. The one time she blows off her step mom’s warning she finds that it was a mistake not to listen.

If all this was not amazing enough, we also find that adults who decide that they want to revert back and act like teenagers are likewise in the wrong, and may do even more damage than kids who mess up by trying to take on adult life to early.

I cannot remember the last time I left a movie theater having been told that if you are a kid messing with sex is not good for you and if you are a married adult it is your responsibility to stay with your spouse even when it is hard because you are acting like a spoiled child to run out when the going gets tough. OK, I cannot think of any movie that had all that.

What Is Your Recommendation?

This is a great movie that is hard to recommend. Though all the messages I talked about are there, I question whether the intended audience will pick up on it and clearly see the values it promotes. On top of that there is a lot of crudities and unsavory language to get through to get to the amazing message. Though most of the language comes from teens who are supposed to be shown as immature, will kids and teens be able to make that leap?

My recommendation is to know that this is not the “family” film that some are touting it as, but if you do chose to follow Juno for 9 months in only 92 minutes, you will have plenty to talk about, and a lot of great things to discover starting with a nice example of a family that talks to each other.

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