Most people, when they think about Juno, automatically smile because they remember some witty one-liner or the other. Me, I always end up remembering the scene that moved me to tears when I first saw it, and still manages to make my eyes glisten when I catch it on TV.
No, not the scene in the mall with Jennifer Garner, although it’s quite beautifully done. Especially by Garner, who in those three minutes manages to give a better account of her acting skills than she has in her entire career prior to that.
The one that always gets to me comes pretty much at the end, when Juno is lying in a hospital bed recuperating after her delivery. Her dad is by her side, stroking her hair. And he looks at her and says:
Someday you’ll be here, honey. On your terms.
A very dear friend of mine who wasn’t as crazy about the movie as I was, commented that it seemed to trivialize the whole teenage pregnancy issue. She had a valid point in some ways. Here’s a girl who had unprotected sex, got herself pregnant, decided to have the baby and gave it up for adoption when it was born. Where’s the joke in that?
I contend, however, that the process couldn’t have been painless for her. At some level she must’ve felt like she was making much bigger choices than she ought to have been making at that age, thanks to one decision in the beginning. Which is why the phrase On your terms feels so right.