Freeze Frame #130: Juno

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.

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6 thoughts on “Freeze Frame #130: Juno

  1. Coincidence or what…I just got around to seeing this movie yesterday. I too thought this line was beautiful. I actually didn’t find the movie particularly witty – I just found it very interesting that the director could make a movie about teen pregnancy and yet make it so not “about” teen pregnancy; rather, it was more about this one rather unusual girl.

    So, yes, it does feel like she needs to take some decisions that she shouldn’t need to at her age, and yet, she also seems more equipped to make them than many other teenagers would be.

  2. True, Juno seems better equipped to deal with things beyond her maturity level, in a sense. But I think the thesis of the movie is also that, in some ways, she really isn’t ready, but that she has a supportive environment to help her deal with it.

    I mean, when you think about it, Bren’s (the stepmom) character could’ve been written in a million different ways. Or, for that matter, Bleeker’s.

    Given its subject matter, I come perilously close to calling Juno a feel-good movie — what stops me is the possibility that I might be lumping it with HAHK if I do that 🙂

    ~ramsu

    ps: I’m not sure if you broke the land speed record for comments on this one, but I think it’s fair to assume that you’re in the Top Three. Congratulations! 😀

  3. June, Oh! says:

    I did finally watch Juno (last June — three months after you reviewed it). And I loved it just as I’d loved listening to its writer excitedly jabber at the Oscars.

    This is hardly the teenage-pregnancy message movie of the millennium, so that’s probably why those who look for a *specific* treatment would come away feeling a tad disappointed. If you ask me, I’d say insert your transgression-of-choice into the movie and you’d take nothing away from it. The “teenage pregnancy” is simply a means, a vehicle, that transports the characters to a larger-than-life end: The unconditional love folks have for someone they care truly, madly, deeply about.

    The simple fact is, Juno is a grounded gal. But as is wont to happen with all human beings no matter what age / stage-of-life, she lets herself get carried away by circumstance, with nary a care for consequences. She *presumes* she’d be safe “trying it out” with her best buddy — someone she totally trusts (and who in turn trusts/adores/cares about her); not some scumbag with surging hormones who’s been lying in wait to get in her pants.

    She makes a judgment call; it misfires. And this is the crucial juncture where being surrounded by judgmental friends/family would have wrecked it for Ms. Epitome of Maturity Minus ONE Mistake–I am so glad she wasn’t. She wanted to move on, and the best part is, they let her! 🙂

  4. I still have to figure out what I feel about this movie. Yes, I admit it’s funny, and well-made. And yet, I feel uncomfortable like your friend about the way the issue is handled. Maybe, I worry too much as a mother of a teenage girl.

    Haven’t really been able to put it all down on paper, yet.

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