Director: Jason Reitman
Cast: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, J.K.Simmons
Storyline: A 16-year-old gets pregnant and decides to give the baby away for adoption
Bottomline: Bitter-sweet heartwarming tale of growing up
What are the first few thoughts that come to your mind when you hear about a film that deals with teen pregnancy?
Disturbing, melodramatic, depressing, seriously heartbreaking with heavy-duty emotions?
Juno is anything but any of that.
It’s matter-of-factly real, incredibly light-hearted, funny and a heartwarmingly bitter-sweet tale of growing up and taking responsibility.
It’s one of the best-written films in recent times.
What’s the typical response you get from filmi fathers when they hear their daughter’s pregnant?
Here, a brilliantly restrained J.K.Simmons says: “I thought you were the kind of girl who knew when to say when.”
And Juno, the 16-year-old to-be-Mom admits: “I don’t know what kind of girl I am.”
Juno is the story about this girl who is dealing with things way beyond her maturity level, consequent to her decision to keep the baby and give it away for adoption without any of the morality baggage usually forced on to a subject like this.
If at all there’s any message intended, the only moral that comes out is: “Shut up. It’s none of your business” to all those who have nothing to do with a situation as sensitive as this.
When the ultrasound technician rebukes Juno with a seemingly harmless-but-loaded “Thank goodness for that” after learning she has found adoptive parents for her baby, there’s this stinging dose of snubbing she gets from Juno’s supportive step-mom: “I am a nail technician and we both ought to stick to what know…
You think you’re so special because you get to play Picture Pages up there. My five-year-old daughter could do that and she’s not the smartest bulb in the tanning bed. So why don’t you go back to night school in Manteno and learn a real trade.”
But for the smart and witty chunks of dialogue-writing (Screenplay by Diablo Cody), it seems all too real.
Juno knows she made a mistake, she knows she’s too young to raise a baby and is smart enough to take responsibility for her action, even if it includes finding caring parents for her baby and going the extra mile to keep them posted about every little development about the pregnancy, making a genuine attempt to be friends with them and discovers a few things about love and relationships along the way.
Juno is sunny, serious and funny at the same time without being even a wee bit manipulative of its melodramatic potential, exploring all aspects of teen pregnancy… Relationship between sex and boredom, contraceptives, abortion, morality, social stigma, the price to pay and the future at stake are all addressed and rolled out seamlessly in this taut 90-minute-narrative.
Young Ellen Page who’s already showed us what she could in Hard Candy (the two-character film set in a building), breezes through this role with multi-dimensional fluency, carrying the film on her shoulders.
If you are a teen thinking of getting sexually active or are a parent of young adults, you sure want to watch Juno. Because, more than teen pregnancy, Juno is really about modern-day relationships, supporting the ones you love, love and the baggage that comes with it.
Probably for the first time in the movies, a biological mother-baby bond isn’t treated with any sort of sanctity.
Juno never ever sees the baby as hers. She just sees it as a form of life which can bring joy to people who want it and gives it away, knowing fully well that there was no place for it in her life… without an iota of regret or sadness. That’s what makes Juno incredibly real and responsible.
After all, not all relationships are biological – the mother is not necessarily the one who bears the child but she’s surely the one who raises the baby.
Copycats from Bollywood, why don’t you rip-off something like this, with all its integrity in tact?