I went to this movie fully expecting not to like it. It has sort of a Napoleon Dynamite flavor – not one of my fave movies. But the story touched me in a way I didn’t anticipate.
Juno’s boyfriend is a geek and it’s set back in the late 70-early 80’s. The music is oddly appropriate for the movie – somewhat quirky. Here is a sixteen-year-old, a kid herself, facing pregnancy. Uncertain of what to do, Juno makes the appointment and goes to Planned Parenthood.
In front of the center is one lone protester. Unlike the protesters we are used to seeing portrayed, she gently tells Juno her baby has nails. While Juno sits in the waiting room, she has mixed feelings, but then bolts out of the office. As she runs past the protester, she encourages Juno on. I began to cry at this point and pretty much cried through the rest of the movie.
Juno then decides to carry the baby and give it to a couple who desperately want a child. Jennifer Garner plays a woman longing to fill her arms with a child; whose perfectionist compulsion overcompensates for her barrenness. Jason Bateman plays the middle age man with rock star dreams who is afraid a child will end them.
Juno gives up the baby, which is agonizing for all concerned. Though in the end it appears that she and her BF carry on as if nothing happened. I find that rather unrealistic. Yes, life goes on, but we all know they will never be the same. I’m afraid this part of the movie will send the wrong message.
I recommend previewing it before taking your teens to this movie and discussing it with them. As I talked about in a previous post, Teaching Your Child about Sex, use this movie to inspire conversation. There are a myriad of questions you can ask such as: “Do you know anyone who has had an abortion?” “What did Juno do right or wrong,” etc. Yes, there is language in the movie; however, it will make them think about the consequences of teen pregnancy. The reality is that Juno misses the school dance and other social events while she experiences all the emotions of pregnancy. So often, young girls romanticize about a baby fulfilling her need for love, but Juno realizes that she can’t provide her baby all it needs and makes the ultimate sacrifice.
Juno was nominated for a Golden Globe award, but lost out to Sweeney Todd. Juno now has an Oscar nomination for Best Picture and Ellen Page is nominated for Best Actress, which they both have a very good chance of winning.