Film Review: Juno
Based on various internet reviews and commentary, I had expected the film Juno to be a touchingly light, introspective teen comedy in the same vein as Napoleon Dynamite or Ghost World; however, I had not expected it to be so sad and feel so personal. Sure, it starts with a lot of laughs, but a tinge of desolation soon sets in and it really gets to you by the end of the film.
Juno tells the story of a quirky sixteen year-old girl (named after the Roman goddess, not the Alaskan city) living in a Midwestern suburb and how she deals with an unplanned pregnancy. Considering U.S. teen pregnancy rates are up for the first time since 1992, this topic is timely.
Despite her upbeat eccentricity, a relatively supportive family, and the almost fairy tale-like-fuzzy adoption scenario, these things do not protect Juno from feeling what appears to be very isolated and lonely. I would have liked to see her boy friend-cum-boyfriend Paulie, 50% responsible for the pregnancy, step up to the plate more. I felt the abortion clinic scene, something that has warranted various reactions by critics, wasn't very accurately or fairly represented. I would like to be able to look into the future, watch a fictional “where are they now?” to seeh how the rather neutral “happy” ending really works out. Interestingly, with the film being marketed as a teen fun teen flick, I was surprised to see the audience of this particular showing to have just as many– if not more– solo parents and groups of grandparents than young adults in the audience.
I would recommend the film to others, although it may be hard to find in non-urban areas. I would appreciate hearing others’ feedback, especially from those once or currently in similar situations, as well as watch the movie a second time before making my final verdict.