Juno

18. Juno (2007) [Rated PG-13 for mature thematic material, sexual content and language.]

summary from imdb.com:

Sixteen year-old Juno MacGuff is the type of girl that beats to her own drummer, and doesn’t really care what others may think of her. She learns that she’s pregnant from a one-time sexual encounter with her best friend, Paulie Bleeker. Juno and Paulie like each other, but don’t consider themselves to be exclusive boyfriend/girlfriend let alone be ready to be a family complete with child. Although she would rather not be pregnant, Juno is fairly pragmatic about her situation. Although there, Paulie really leaves all the decisions about the baby to Juno. Initially she decides that she will have an abortion, but that’s something that she ultimately cannot go through with. So she decides to have the baby and give it up for adoption. But first she has to tell her father, Mac, and stepmother, Bren, that she is pregnant. Although they would have preferred if Juno was on hard drugs or expelled from school, Mac and Bren too are pragmatic about Juno’s situation. The next step is to find prospective parents for the yet unborn child. In the Pennysaver ad section, Juno finds Mark and Vanessa Loring, a yuppie couple living in the suburbs. Juno likes the Lorings, and in some respects has found who looks to be a kindred spirit in Mark, with whom she shares a love of grunge music and horror films. Vanessa is a little more uptight and is the one in the relationship seemingly most eager to have a baby. On her own choosing, Juno enters into a closed rather than open adoption contract with the Lorings – meaning she will have no contact with the baby after she gives it up. During the second and third trimesters of Juno’s pregnancy which she treats with care but detachment, Juno’s relationships with her family, with Paulie, and with the Lorings develop, the latter whose on the surface perfect life masks some hidden problems.

directed by: Jason Reitman

starring: Ellen Page, Michael Cera, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, Allison Janney, J.K. Simmons, Olivia Thirlby, Rainn Wilson, Cameron Bright

Conservo-Libertarian Reviews:
John Nolte at Libertas
Kyle Smith
James Bowman at the American Spectator
Kurt Loder
Peter T. Chattaway
Good News Film Reviews
movieguide.org Christian reviews

Abortion/Life Content:

Rainn Wilson: Well, well, if it isn’t MacGuff the crime dog. Back for another test?

Ellen Page: I think the first one was defective. The plus sign looks more like a division symbol, so I remain unconvinced.

Rainn: Third test today, mama bear. Your Eggo is prego, no doubt about it. […] Yeah, maybe your little boyfriend’s got mutant sperms; knocked you up twice.

Ellen: Silencio, old man! Look, I just drank my weight in Sunny D. and I got to go pronto.

Rainn: Well, you know where the lavatory is. And pay for that pee stick when you’re done. Don’t think it’s yours just ’cause you marked it with your urine. What’s the prognosis, fertile Myrtle? Minus or plus?

Ellen: I don’t know. It’s not seasoned yet. Take some of these. No, there it is. That little pink plus sign is so unholy.

Rainn: That ain’t no Etch A Sketch. This is one doodle that can’t be undid, home skillet.

Olivia Thirlby: Yo, yo, yo-giddy, yo.

Ellen Page: I’m a suicide risk.

Olivia: Juno?

Ellen: No, it’s Morgan Freeman. Do you have any bones that need collecting? […] I’m pregnant.

Olivia: What?! Honest to blog?

Ellen: Yeah. Yeah, it’s Bleeker’s.

Olivia: It’s probably just a food baby. Did you have a big lunch?

Ellen: No, this is not a food baby, all right? I’ve taken, like, three pregnancy tests, and I am for shiz up the spout.

Olivia: How did you even generate enough pee for three pregnancy tests? That’s amazing.

Ellen: I don’t know. I drank, like, ten tons of Sunny D. Anyway, dude, I’m telling you I’m pregnant, and you’re acting shockingly cavalier.

Olivia: Is this for real? Like, for real for real?

Ellen: Unfortunately, yes.

Olivia: Oh, my God! Oh, s###! Phuket, Thailand.

Ellen: There we go. That was kind of the emotion that I was searching for on the first take.

Olivia: So, are you going to go to Havenbrook or Women Now? ‘Cause you know you need a note from your parents for Havenbrook.

Ellen: Yeah, I-I know, um… no, I’m going to go to Women Now… just ’cause they help out women now.

Olivia: Hey, do you want me to call for you? ‘Cause I called for Becky last year.

Ellen: No, I can call myself. Oh, but I do need your help with something. It’s, like, critically important.

Olivia: You know, heavy lifting can really only help you at this point. Seriously. So you were bored? That’s how this blessed miracle came to be?

Ellen: No. No, no. The act was premeditated. I mean, the sex, not the whole, like, let’s-get-pregnant thing.

Ellen Page: So guess what?

Michael Cera: What? I don’t know.

Ellen: I’m pregnant.

Michael: What should we do… about…?

Ellen: Well, you know, I was just… I was thinking I’d just nip it in the bud before it gets worse. ‘Cause they were talking about, in health class, how pregnancy, it can often lead to an infant.

Michael: Typically, yeah, yeah. That’s what happens when our moms and teachers get pregnant.

Ellen: So you’re cool with that then?

Michael: Yeah, yeah, Wizard, I mean, you know, just, I guess do whatever you think you should do, you know?

Ellen: Well, I’m sorry I had sex with you. I know it wasn’t, like, your idea.

Michael: Whose idea was it?

Ellen: I’ll see you at school, all right?

Ellen Page on phone: Hey, yeah, um, I… I’m just calling to procure a hasty abortion. What? Can you just hold on for a second? I’m on my hamburger phone. Yeh… okay, yeah, now I can… Yeah, it’s just, like, really awkward to talk on. Um… Yeah, yeah, I… I-I need an abortion. Sixteen. I’m gonna say it’s been about, um… two months and four days since THE sex. Mind you, that’s just, like, a guesstimation. Sorry, how long have I been what?

Ellen narration: Ugh, I hate it when adults use the term “sexually active.” What does it even mean? That I, like, deactivate someday? Or is this some sort of permanent state of being?

Valerie Tian: All babies want to get borned. All babies want to get borned. All babies want to get borned. All…

Ellen Page: Hey, Su-Chin.

Valerie Tian: Oh. Hi, Juno. How are you?

Ellen: You know, pretty solid.

Um… So, did you… did you write that paper for Worth’s class yet?

Valerie Tian: No, not yet. I tried to work on it a little last night, but I’m having trouble concentrating.

Ellen: Oh, well, I’ll sell you some of my Adderall, if you…

Valerie Tian: No, thanks. I’m off pills.

Ellen: It’s a wise choice. ‘Cause I knew this girl, she had this, like, crazy freak-out ’cause she took too many behavioral meds at once. And she just, like, ripped off her clothes and dove into the fountain at Ridgedale mall, and was like, “Bligh, I’m a kraken from the sea!”

Valerie Tian: I heard that was you.

Ellen Page: Well, it’s good seeing you, Su-Chin.

Valerie Tian: Your baby probably has a beating heart, you know. It can feel pain. And it has fingernails!

Ellen Page: Fingernails? Really?

Emily Perkins: [very bored monotonous voice] Welcome to Women Now, where women are trusted friends. Please put your hands where I can see them and surrender any bombs.

Ellen Page: Hey, I’m here for the big show.

Emily Perkins: Your name, please?

Ellen: Juno MacGuff.

Ellen narration: She thinks I’m using a fake name, like Gene Simmons or Mother Teresa.

Emily Perkins: I need you to fill these out, both sides, and don’t skip the hairy details. We need to know about every score and every sore. Would you like a free condom? They’re boysenberry.

Ellen: No, I’m… I’m off sex right now.

Emily Perkins: My boyfriend uses them every time we have intercourse. They make his junk smell like pie.

Valerie Tian: All babies want to get borned. All babies want to… God appreciates your miracle!

Olivia: Dude, what are you doing here? I’m supposed to come get you at 4:00.

Ellen: Couldn’t do it, Leah. It smelled like a dentist’s office in there. And there were these horrible magazines with water stains. And then the friggin’ receptionist is trying to get me to take these condoms that look like grape suckers. And just babbling away about her friggin’ boyfriend’s pie ####s.

Olivia: Ooh, yum.

Ellen: Oh, and then Su-Chin was there. Yeah. And she was like, “Oh, hi. Babies have fingernails.” Fingernails!

Olivia: That’s gruesome. Do you think the baby could all like scratch your vag on the way out and then it would…?

Ellen: I’m staying pregnant, Leah.

Olivia: Dude! You got to keep your voice down, okay? My mom is inside. She doesn’t know that we’re sexually active.

Ellen: What does that even mean? I’ve been thinking. I was thinking I could, like, have this baby and give it to someone that, like, totally needs it. You know, like, a woman with a bum ovary or a couple nice lesbos.

Olivia: But then you’re gonna get, like, huge. And your chest is gonna milktate. And you’re gonna have to, like… tell people that you’re pregnant.

Ellen: Yeah, but maybe they’ll, like, canonize me for being so selfless.

Olivia: Or maybe they’ll, like, totally #### and be really, really mad and not let you graduate or go to Cabo for spring break.

Ellen: I was gonna go to Gettysburg with Bleeker anyway.

Olivia: You should look at adoption ads. I see them all the time in the PennySaver.

Ellen: They have ads for parents?

Olivia: Yeah. “Desperately seeking spawn” right next to, like, terriers and iguanas and used fitness equipment and stuff. It’s… it’s, like, totally legit. Mm. “Wholesome, spiritually wealthy couple have found true love with each other.” Aw. All that’s missing is your bastard.

Ellen: I want a parakeet.

Olivia: Juno, you’re totally not even listening to me.

Ellen: No, I heard you. I just, like, I don’t want to give the baby to a family that describes themselves as “wholesome.”

Olivia: Why?

Ellen: Well, I don’t know, I just want someone a little more edgier.

Olivia: Okay, what did you have in mind exactly?

Ellen: I was thinking more like… graphic designer, mid-30s, you know, with a cool Asian girlfriend who, like, dresses awesome and rocks out on the bass guitar. But I don’t want to be too particular.

Olivia: Okay. Uh, how about this? “Educated, successful couple seeking infant to join our family of five. You will be compensated. Help us complete the circle of love.”

Ellen: Yeesh.

Olivia: That sounds great.

Ellen: They sound like a freakin’ cult is what they sound like. And, besides, they already have three kids. You know, they’re just like greedy little b######.

Olivia: Ooh, Juno. How about this one?

Ellen Page narration: They were Mark and Vanessa Loring, and they were beautiful even in black and white.

Ellen Page: So I’m not really sure how I’m gonna spit this out.

Allison Janney: Hon, did you get expelled?

Ellen Page: No, the school would most likely contact you in the event of my expulsion.

Allison Janney: Well, I was just asking. It seemed plausible.

J.K. Simmons: What, do you need a large amount of money? Legal counsel?

Ellen Page: I’m not… I’m not asking for anything. Except for maybe mercy. Like, it would be friggin’ sweet if no one hit me.

J.K. Simmons: Well, what have you done, June bug? Did you hit someone with the Previa?

Ellen Page: No.

Olivia Thirlby: Dude, I think it’s best to just tell them.

Ellen Page: I’m pregnant.

Allison Janney: Oh, God.

Ellen Page: Yeah, but I’m gonna give it up for adoption. And I already found the perfect couple. They’re gonna pay for the medical expenses and everything. And-and… what, 30, er, odd weeks, we can just pretend that this never happened.

J.K. Simmons: You’re pregnant?

Ellen Page: I’m sorry. I’m sorry. And if it is any consolation, I have heartburn that is radiating my kneecaps, and I haven’t taken a dump since… Wednesday. Morning.

Allison Janney: I didn’t even know you were sexually active.

J.K. Simmons: Who is the kid?

Ellen Page: The baby? I don’t really know much about it other than… I mean, it has fingernails, allegedly.

Allison Janney: Nails? Really.

Ellen Page: Yeah.

J.K. Simmons: No, I don’t, I mean, who is the father, Juno?

Ellen Page: Um… It’s… it’s Paulie Bleeker.

J.K. Simmons: Paulie Bleeker?

Ellen Page: What?

J.K. Simmons: I didn’t think he had it in him.

Olivia Thirlby: I know, right?

J.K. Simmons: Right. This is no laughing matter.

Ellen Page: No, it’s not. And you know, Paulie is actually great in, uh…

J.K. Simmons: Okay.

Ellen Page: In chair.

J.K. Simmons: You’re thinking about adoption?

Ellen Page: Yeah, yeah, and it, there’s this couple they haven’t had, you know, they’ve been trying to have a kid for, like, five years.

Olivia Thirlby: We found them in the PennySaver next to the exotic birds.

Ellen Page: And they have a legitimate lawyer and I was gonna go meet with them next weekend.

J.K. Simmons: June bug, that is a tough, tough thing to do. It’s probably tougher than you can understand right now.

Ellen Page: Oh, I… I know. And I… it’s just that I’m not ready to be a mom.

J.K. Simmons: Damn skippy, you’re not. You don’t even remember to give Liberty Bell her breathing meds.

Ellen Page: That was once, and she did not die, if you recall.

Allison Janney: Honey, had you considered… you know… the alternative?

Ellen Page: No.

Allison Janney: Well, you’re a little Viking. First things first. All right, we have to get you healthy. You need prenatal vitamins. Incidentally, they do incredible things for your nails, so that’s a plus. Oh, and we need to schedule a doctor’s appointment. Figure out where you’re going to deliver.

J.K. Simmons: Juno, I’m coming with you to meet this… adoption couple. You’re just a kid. I don’t want you to get ripped off by a couple of baby-starved wing nuts.

Ellen Page: Thanks, Dad.

J.K. Simmons: Boy, I thought you were the kind of girl who knew when to say when.

Ellen Page: I don’t really know what kind of girl I am.

J.K. Simmons: Whoa. Just tell it to me straight, Bren. You think this is my fault?

Allison Janney: I think kids get bored and they have intercourse. And I think June bug was a dummy about it, Mac.

J.K. Simmons: I am not ready to be a Pop Pop.

Allison Janney: You’re not gonna be a Pop Pop. Somebody else is gonna find a precious blessing from Jesus in this garbage dump of a situation.

J.K. Simmons: Did you see that coming when she sat us down here?

Allison Janney: Yeah, but I was hoping she was expelled or into hard drugs.

J.K. Simmons: That was my first instinct, too, or a DWI. Anything but this. And I’m gonna punch that Bleeker kid in the wiener next time I see him.

Allison Janney: Mac. Come on. You know it wasn’t his idea.

J.K. Simmons: Yeah.

Eileen Pedde: So, Juno, first off, how far along are you?

Ellen Page: I’m a junior.

Eileen Pedde: No, I mean, in your pregnancy.

Ellen Page: Oh, right. Um, well, actually my stepmom took me yesterday to the doctor, and they said I was 12 weeks.

Jennifer Garner: That’s great. That’s marvelous. So you’re into your second trimester.

Ellen Page: Uh… yeah. Apparently. I’m due on May fourth.

Jennifer Garner: Great. My girlfriends tell me that the first couple of months are the hardest.

Ellen Page: I didn’t notice it at all, actually. Uh, I’m more concerned about when they have to put that, like, elastic band, you know, in the front of my jeans.

Jennifer Garner: I think pregnancy’s beautiful.

Ellen Page: Oh, you’re lucky it’s not you.

Jason Bateman: Let’s talk about how we’re gonna do this thing.

Ellen Page: What do you mean, don’t I just have the thing, squeeze it on out and hand it over?

Eileen Pedde: Mark and Vanessa are willing to negotiate an open adoption.

J.K. Simmons: Uh, wait, what does that mean?

Eileen Pedde: It means they’d send annual updates, photos, let Juno know how the baby is doing. As he, or she, grows up.

Ellen Page: Whoa, whoa. No, no, no, no, no. I don’t want photos or any kind of notification. You know. I mean… Can’t we just, like, kick this old school? You know, like, I-I stick the baby in a basket send it your way, like Moses in the reeds?

Jason Bateman: Technically, that would be kicking it Old Testament.

Ellen Page: Exactly. Right? Do you know what I mean? Like in the good old days, when it was quick and dirty.

Eileen Pedde: Well, then… we all agree? A traditional closed adoption would be best for all involved.

Ellen Page: ####. Yes. Just close ‘er on up.

Jason Bateman: Obviously we would compensate you for all your medical expenses.

Jennifer Garner: Are you looking for any other type of compensation?

J.K. Simmons: Excuse me?

Ellen Page: What? No. No, I don’t want to, you know, sell the thing. I just… I want… I just want the baby to be with people who are gonna love it and be good parents, you know? Um… I mean, I-I’m in high school. Dude, I’m-I’m just… I’m ill-equipped.

Jason Bateman: Well, you’re doing a beautiful and a selfless thing for us. Vanessa’s wanted a baby ever since we got married.

Jennifer Garner: I want to be a mommy so badly.

J.K. Simmons: You don’t say.

Jennifer Garner: Have you ever felt like you were just born to do something?

J.K. Simmons: Yes. Heating and air-conditioning.

Jennifer Garner: There you go. I was born to be a mother. Some of us are.

Ellen Page: How about you, Mark? Are you, uh… looking forward to being a dad?

Jason Bateman: Mmm. Betcha. Yeah. Every guy wants to be a father, wants to coach the soccer team and help out with the science fair… the volcano goes off… I don’t know. Yeah. All that.

Kaaren de Zilva: There’s your baby.

Ellen Page, Olivia Thirlby, Allison Janney: Ah! Oh! Oh, my God!

Kaaren de Zilva: There’s a hand.

Ellen, Olivia, Allison: Oh! Oh!

Kaaren de Zilva: And an arm. And there’s the feet.

Ellen Page: Oh!

Allison Janney: Would you look at that?

Olivia Thirlby: Whoa! Check out Baby Big Head! Dude, that thing is freaky looking.

Ellen Page: Excuse me… I am a sacred vessel, all right? All you’ve got in your stomach is Taco Bell. It’s amazing that there’s actually saps that cry at this.

Allison Janney: What? I’m not made of stone.

Kaaren de Zilva: Well, there you have it. Would you like to know the sex?

Olivia Thirlby: Yes.

Ellen Page: No.

Olivia Thirlby: Please, Juno. Please!

Ellen Page: No. Definitely no. There’s no sex.

Kaaren de Zilva: Planning to be surprised when you deliver.

Ellen Page: Well, no, I want Mark and Vanessa to be surprised, and if you told me, I’ll just, like, ruin everything.

Kaaren de Zilva: Are Mark and Vanessa your friends at school?

Ellen Page: No, no, no. They’re the adoptive parents.

Kaaren de Zilva: Oh. Well, thank goodness for that.

Allison Janney: What’s that supposed to mean?

Kaaren de Zilva: I just see a lot of teenage mothers come through here. It’s obviously a poisonous environment to raise a baby in.

Ellen Page: How do you know that I’m so poisonous, you know? Like, what if these adoptive parents turn out to be, like, evil molesters? Or, like, stage parents?

Allison Janney: They could be utterly negligent. Maybe they’ll do a far ####tier job of raising a kid than my dumbass stepdaughter ever would. Have you considered that?

Kaaren de Zilva: No. I guess not.

Allison Janney: Yeah. What is your job title exactly?

Kaaren de Zilva: I’m an ultrasound technician, ma’am.

Allison Janney: Well, I’m a nail technician, and I think we both ought to stick to what we know.

Kaaren de Zilva: Excuse me?

Allison Janney: Oh, you think you’re so special ’cause you get to play picture pages up there? My five-year-old daughter could do that, and let me tell you, she’s not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed. So why don’t you go back to night school in Manteno and learn a real trade?

Ellen Page: Kicking… kicking away.

Jennifer Garner: Could… could I feel it?

Ellen Page: Are you kidding?! Come on! At school everyone’s just, like, grabbing my belly all the time. It’s crazy, but I’m a legend, you know. They call me the cautionary whale.

Jennifer Garner: I can’t feel anything. It’s not moving for me.

Ellen Page: Well, you should try talking to it, ’cause, like, supposedly they can hear you even though it’s all, like, 10,000 leagues under the sea.

Jennifer Garner: Hi, baby. Um… It’s me. It’s… Vanessa. I can’t wait to meet you. Can you hear me, baby? Sweet angel? I felt him! Oh, God. That was magical. Thank you. Thank you.

Ellen Page: Dad!

J.K. Simmons: What?!

Ellen Page: Dad, either I just peed my pants or, um…

J.K. Simmons: Or?!

Ellen Page: Thundercats are go!

J.K. Simmons: Fall out! Fall out! You okay?

Allison Janney: Do you have the admittance form?

J.K. Simmons: Got ’em!

Allison Janney: What about the parking stickers?

J.K. Simmons: I got ’em! […]

Ellen Page: Ow, ow, ####ity, ow! God, Bren, when do I get the friggin’ spinal tap thing?!

Allison Janney: It’s called a spinal block, and you can’t have it yet, honey. The doctor said you’re not dilated enough.

Ellen Page: Oh, come on! I mean, it’s like… I have to wait for it to get worse? Why can’t I just have the friggin’ thing now?

Allison Janney: Well, honey, doctors are sadists who like to play God and watch lesser people scream.

[Ellen Page screams]

Allison Janney: Oh, ####. Uh, excuse me! Hey, could we give my kid the damn spinal tap already?!

Allison Janney and Olivia Thirlby: Breath and push. That’s good. Keep pushing. Keep pushing, keep pushing…

Ellen Page narration: And then, out of nowhere, there it was… there he was. […]

J.K. Simmons: Someday, you’ll be back here, honey. On your terms.

Ellen Page narration: Bleeker decided he didn’t want to see the baby. Neither did I really. He didn’t feel like ours. I think he was always hers.

Nurse: Would you like to meet your son?

Jennifer Garner: I have a son. Is this… Am I… How do I look?

Allison Janney: Like a new mom. Scared ########.

==============================

from an interview with Juno writer, Diablo Cody:

The movie Juno makes some powerful suggestions regarding pregnancy and against abortion. What you’re take?

DC: I had one image in my mind when I wrote this. That was of Juno sitting across from Mark and Vanessa Loring being polar opposites to her, and then having to audition to adopt her baby. To me, that was the movie right there. It was a weird image, and I couldn’t have gotten that if she had an abortion. She had to have the baby in order for me to execute the story.

It’s hard, Jason and I wanted to make the movie as personal as we could rather than political. Juno never moralizes about the choice she makes. We never get a speech like, “I can’t kill my baby.” I’m pro-choice, so for me it was very important that the movie not seem to have any kind of anti-choice agenda. Um, but when she’s in the abortion clinic, I think of myself as a teenager. I was kinda this anxious, phobic little kid, and I was afraid to have blood drawn. I would have freaked out if I was about to get an abortion!

So she bolts out of fear. It’s a personal choice not moral, I don’t think. At the end, everything turns out alright, and then people say, “This is a candy-coated vision of reality.” You know what, I had a friend who had a baby when she was a teenager, and everything turned out alright. It happens. And it’s not always a tragedy. And I think women are being punished all the time for making so-called mistakes. I’m not going to punish my character.

from an interview with actress Ellen Page at The Observer:

How did you feel about the controversy aroused by your role in Juno?

I was like, you know what? You all need to calm down. People are so black and white about this. Because she kept the baby everybody said the film was against abortion. But if she’d had an abortion everybody would have been like, “Oh my God”. I am a feminist and I am totally pro-choice, but what’s funny is when you say that people assume that you are pro-abortion. I don’t love abortion but I want women to be able to choose and I don’t want white dudes in an office being able to make laws on things like this. I mean what are we going to do – go back to clothes hangers?

from an interview with actress Ellen Page at IndieLondon:

Q. What do you think of the criticisms that the film is negative towards abortion?
Ellen Page: Well, she goes to the abortion clinic and she completely looks at all of her options – and that’s the most important thing. People who have said that the movie is negative towards abortion are just trying to create a story out of nothing. If you knew me, and you knew the writer and the director, you’d absolutely never say that. And the point of the film is that it allows all of the choices to be visited and looks at it from a female’s perspective. If I was 16 and pregnant, I don’t know what I would do at all. I would just hope that all those choices were freely available to me and the film expresses that.

from an interview with actress Ellen Page at Washingtonpost.com:

Is “Juno” a pro-life movie?

Not in the slightest, and if you knew me and if you knew the writer and the director, no one would ever say that. It happens to be a film about a girl who has a baby and gives it to a yuppie couple. That’s what the movie’s about. Like, I’m really sorry to everyone that she doesn’t have an abortion, but that’s not what the film is about. She goes to an abortion clinic and she completely examines all the opportunities and all the choices allowed her and that’s obviously the most crucial thing. It’s as simple as that.

I call myself a feminist when people ask me if I am, and of course I am ’cause it’s about equality, so I hope everyone is. You know you’re working in a patriarchal society when the word feminist has a weird connotation. “Hippie” has a weird connotation. “Liberal” has a weird connotation.

How sick are you of these questions?

Well, because I very much am pro-choice, I don’t really get it. People are always going to project. It’s kind of amazing, though, that a movie that’s caused this much controversy has done really well in America.

from an interview with director Jason Reitman at IONCINEMA.com:

Were you worried about being perceived as a movie that has a slightly anti-abortionist?
Not really, because the movie is not about abortion. Pregnancy is just kind of a location to do a movie about growing up, about what constitutes a family and how that idea has changed and it is gone from these parents- two kids idea to stepparents, stepchildren, adopted children, single parents situations and this screenplay looks at all of those. And there is also a recurring theme in our society about girls growing up too fast and 30 year old guys not growing up at all.

from an interview with writer Diablo Cody and director Jason Reitman at About.com:

Central to the film is an unplanned teen pregnancy. “I actually see the movie as completely apolitical,” said director Reitman of the film’s tone and approach to the subject matter. “It has a unique perspective of coming from a writer who grew up in a very kind of Juno MacGuff-like house and a director who grew up in a very Loring-like house [the Lorings are the couple who hope to adopt Juno’s baby]. Because of that, there’s kind of an air of non-judgment around all of the characters. One of the things I loved about it is that it was open-minded. Like Thank You For Smoking the novel, it took on an issue that is normally considered tricky and had a very frank attitude about it, and just spoke about it openly without being condescending and never really got into the politics. You never really see politics in any of the choices, any of the conversations, any of the moves. That’s probably why I liked it.”

Reitman isn’t deliberately seeking out touchy subject matter for his films. “The material I’m drawn to, I like stuff that’s unusual. I like unusual perspectives on things and I generally get frustrated with political correctness. Movies, books, stories that are afraid to just talk about things, so when I hear the voices, like the voice of Juno, when she calls for an abortion and says, ‘I’d like to procure a hasty abortion,’ I immediately fall in love with this girl.”

“That’s why I think our collaboration went so well,” added Cody. “I can’t imagine either of us working with somebody who’s that politically correct. It would be disastrous.”

from an interview with director Jason Reitman at ComingSoon.net:

CS: I’m amazed the abortion issue keeps being brought up even though it literally takes up like two minutes of the movie. Have you heard of this indie movie called “Bella”?
Reitman: Yeah, someone just mentioned that. It has similar themes as us right?

CS: Yeah, it was actually at Toronto last year I think and got an audience award there. I saw it and thought, “Okay this is a cute indie movie. Low budget, okay acting and writing” and then I was down South for Thanksgiving and I saw a little blurb about it having this strong pro-life message because of the way the movie turned out. Knowing that you, Diablo, and Ellen are all Pro-Choice, are you worried about your movie being taken to heart by the pro-life movement?
Reitman: I want everyone to see this movie. With “Thank You for Smoking,” the liberal side was there and the conservative side was there. I’m not really pro-choice, I’m not really pro-life, I think either of those infer that I want other people to be pro-choice or pro-life. I’m libertarian and I think people should make decisions for themselves. If you want to be pro-life god bless you. If the pro-lifers think it’s theirs and the pro-choicers think it’s theirs I think that’s fantastic. I’d much rather want that.

CS: Bring them together for a screening and a peace summit between the two camps.
Reitman: There you go. It has nothing to do with what they’re talking about.

from Jill Stanek:

…I previewed it a month ago and loved it.

That means pro-aborts will hate it. “Juno” is a great story that undermines almost all their talking points.

“Juno” is the third in an unplanned pregnancy movie trilogy, the others being “Waitress” and “Knocked Up,” in which a girl undergoes a crisis pregnancy but heroically rejects abortion.

Don’t be thrown that Juno’s screenwriting ing?nue, Diablo Cody, is a stripper turned blogger turned movie writer. She handled the topic almost like we would, only with spice.

Here’s Juno’s premise, by movie reviewer Matthew Turner:

Engaging, frequently hilarious teen comedy with a terrific script, a wonderful cast and a delightful central performance from rising star Ellen Page.

Ellen Page stars as brainy 16-year-old Juno MacGuff, who gets pregnant the first time she has sex with fellow virgin Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). Unable to go through with an abortion, Juno decides to give the baby up for adoption, so she finds childless couple Mark and Vanessa (Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner) through the want ads.

However, as Juno spends more time with Mark and Vanessa, she realizes that their marriage isn’t quite as picture-perfect as it first appeared. Meanwhile, Juno’s father (J.K. Simmons), stepmother (Allison Janney) and best friend Leah (Olivia Thirlby) offer as much help as they can.

I have to jump to my favorite part of the movie, which pro-aborts will hate most, when Juno decides to “procure a hasty abortion.”

The pro-life protester greeting Juno at the mill is a nerd but friendly. She and Juno engage in a civil conversation, and she ultimately gets the job done by calling out to Juno, “Your baby has fingernails!” as the teen determinedly proceeds into the mill. This little humanizing point grabs Juno, causing her to change her mind and ditch the abortion.

Diablo’s portrayal of the abortion mill and workers is hysterical. The uncaring receptionist’s face is laden with piercings. She uncouthly tells Juno to list “every score and every sore” after offering her a fruit-flavored condom. The place is cold.

Here are more facets of “Juno” pro-aborts will hate.

Juno is hurt when Bleeker agrees with her to “nip it in the bud,” or abort. Abortion is not a wonderful “right.” It is borne of tragedy and pain and feeling trapped and alone.

Juno’s father and stepmother are nice, smart people who support her.

Ultrasound is shown as a bonding experience.

Adoption is presented as a heroic option. Open adoption is described, although Juno opts for a closed adoption. She does pick the parents she wants to raise her baby, which is common these days but not so publicized a facet of the changing face ofadoption. Watching this process in “Juno” will be instructional.

The deep maternal instincts of the infertile adoptive mother (Garner) are shown as a positive aspect of womanhood.

Juno is a gusty little hero. She bears with aplomb the judgment of school administrators and classmates as her belly grows.

The movie’s ending is unexpected, a cliffhanger, yet happy. It goes almost as social conservatives would want it to go, but not completely. There will be a few complaints.

But I got over it. What little we have to pick apart does not compare to what pro-aborts will have to pick apart, which is everything else. Yahoo…

“Juno Misses Chance to Address Abortion Honestly”
from the pro-abortion site: RHRealityCheck.org:

It is hard to know what takes the cruelest blow in Juno; a very popular 2007 movie a leading film critic insists is “destined to become a classic” (Richard Roeper). First place could go to the Truth, which is really done in – albeit another critic judges the film “a thing of beauty and grace – a perfect movie about responsibility, maturity, and unconditional love.” (Robert Wilansky). Second place here is a toss-up between abortion clinics and clinic waiting-room males, both of whom are misrepresented beyond recognition.

The film’s many shortcomings not withstanding, it warrants MUST viewing by all readers of this critique, as it reveals much about what we are up against where mass media treatment is concerned. Indirect in its underlying condemnation of abortion on request, the film is a far more costly blow against abortion rights than anything the anti-abortion crowd could possibly hope for or ever produce – and they are big gainers (at no cost to them) from its sappy popularity.

To be sure, very little time is given to showing an Abortion Clinic – and for that pro-Choice Americans must be grateful. For what is shown comes across as no place you would not want anything to do with. For openers, its parking lot is nearly empty, as if to suggest hardly anyone comes there (only 1,400,000 or so clients a year in recent years). For another, there is only one protester outside, a sweet Asian-American high-school girl, carrying a sign with the standard false picture of a third semester fetus passed off as a first-semester one. She lies to Juno about the likely state of fetal development. (“It has fingernails!”), a lie that takes a toll. One lone demure protester – and this, as a time when clinics in Albuquerque, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and elsewhere are experiencing dangerous and ugly mass protests by impassioned extremists, some of whom the police can barely contain.

Once our heroine gets inside things get worse. She meets an ultra-hip young poseur pretending to be a trained clinic receptionist who barely welcomes Juno. She then publicly questions the girl about intimate matters in less than an empathetic way. As this wasn’t bad enough, she volunteers details about the sexual appetite of her boy friend, and leaves Juno more confused and unsettled than ever.

Having thus set an unappealing stage, the camera next surveys hapless stereotypes the film-makers want America to believe are the major types found in a typical clinic waiting room. The only people shown are female (though perhaps 50 percent of actual clients have a male accompanying them). All of the women appear doleful, though many actual clients are relieved to have this medical option. All appear isolated, though many actual clients come with close and supportive friends. Little wonder that a panicked Juno is next seen energetically running away from the Clinic, much to the delight of the lone protestor who shouts after her – “Your baby has fingernails!”

Where abortion clinic waiting room males are concerned, mis-representation is much the same. First, none are shown, though as many as 600,000 or more guys find themselves in the role annually (25 percent of whom have been there more than once). Second, although a scene shows a high school teacher demonstrating to a sex education class how a condom is rolled down a stage-prop (the standard banana), Juno’s boy friend is pictured as utterly naïve about contraception (the nearly 3,200 such males who have completed a survey for me want to know more about it, but do not seem as anywhere ignorant as the film character).

On three scores, however, the film stumbles, which is to say, it actually gets something right: First, it has the boy quickly consent to Juno’s pro-abortion decision, only to wonder later who really made the decision? He could not recall being asked his view before the matter seemed to get resolved (nearly 4 in 5 males tell me this is their experience, though close to 90 percent support the abortion). Second, Juno does not invite him to go with her to the clinic (15 percent of women never tell their sex partner before the abortion, and over 50 percent are accompanied by another female). Third, the boy does not discuss his situation with anyone (nor did my 3,000-plus male respondents, though a small minority spoke briefly with clinic staffers while the abortion was occurring).

Which is to say, clinic waiting room males need a lot more care, attention, and contraception education than hinted at in this film … if, that is, we are to soon reduce the rate of ill-timed and unwanted pregnancies. (I plan with Pittsburgh area Clinic Director Claire Keyes to soon discuss the case for reform here in another RH essay).

This movie, allegedly a “marvelously offbeat comedy, which is sheer joy from beginning to end” (Critic Dennis Dermody), had an opportunity to treat abortion or pregnancy honestly, and it did not. A critic would have you believe you will “laugh deeply” (Peter Travers). I hope you will instead sigh deeply, and get angry at irresponsible mass media types that with this film have set back the cause of abortion on request and the assumption of male responsibilities in the matter. While there is much to admire about Juno as a witty and promising young person, there is much about Juno as a film to resent and regret.

from Planet Augsburg:

Both are comedies about a girl or young woman who gets pregnant out-of-wedlock. They are certainly not family-friendly and both depict different aspects of the cesspool our culture has become. Whether it is Knocked Up’s man-child “community” in which Seth Rogen thrives with his buddies playing video games, smoking pot, and repeating or the sickening parent-free high school culture Juno’s protagonist inhabits, both movies reveal a world that is funny (to me, at least) and quite repulsive. But, that’s just it. Neither movie is trying to depict this world as fun or cool. Neither is a place you would want to be or participate in. That fact alone is enough to distinguish these comedies from countless sex comedies in movies (think the American Pie movies) and on TV (Friends). But, that’s not all.

Surprisingly, both movies have strong pro-life themes. I am not saying this simply because both of the female characters choose life. That is the usual abortion cop-out that Hollywood gives us. The female character anguishes over her decision to keep or kill her child. Ultimately, she decides to keep her child but only after her right to kill it (i.e., her choice) has been affirmed in a meaningful way that is not threatening or judgmental to women who have decided to kill their babies.

Both Knocked Up and Juno take a moral view on the question. The characters do not choose life because they have thought about it and decided that it is the right thing to do for them in this particular case. Instead, it is simply the right thing to do. It is a moral choice that has consequences.

In Knocked Up, as one of Seth Rogen’s man-child buddies tells him that what his girlfriend needs starts with an “A” and rhymes with “smortion,” another buddy is shocked. He declares that he would be killing an unborn child. Needless to say, we rarely hear abortion described as such by anyone in a movie who is not a religious fanatic. The female lead, a young professional woman played by Kathryn Heigl, tells her mother about her unplanned pregnancy and that she wants to keep her baby. Her mother is less than supportive. She urges her to instead “take care of it” and “have a real baby later.” Coming from the unborn child’s grandmother, this statement is chilling and it is meant to be.

In Juno, the lead character, a sixteen-year-old, has scheduled her appointment with the local abortion clinic, having given little to no thought to her “choice.” Before she walks in, she meets a lone protester that she knows from school (again, not a religious fanatic but a peer that she knows). The protester tells her that her baby wants to live and actually has fingernails. This seeming trivial fact starts haunting Juno as she sits in the clinic waiting room. Instead of a clean and comforting bastion of freedom and the rights of women, the clinic has the personality and feel of a post office. Juno receives the type of respect and concern usually reserved for cattle in a slaughter house. As she watches everyone in the clinic waiting room tap, chew, or paint their fingernails, she comes to an epiphany about what she is about to do. She flees the clinic and is determined to have the baby.

Both movies highlight ultrasound images of the babies as they are carried to term. In Knocked Up, the couple will have a go at being married and raising their baby. In Juno, the pregnant teenager has found a suitable set of parents to adopt her baby. Juno has probably made the wiser decision, but it is a more reality-based movie than the pure comedy of Knocked Up.

I doubt that either movie was made by a pro-lifer intent on making a political statement. The themes in both movies are way too subtle for that. Nevertheless, they both offer a peak into what might be changing views on abortion in the culture at large. Recent polling data suggests that young people are more pro-life than their parents even if they are less conservative or traditional about other things (homosexual relationships for example).

Whatever it means, it is refreshing to see abortion dealt with in this way. The facts are on our side. Science is on our side. The excuses and rationalizations for why babies should not be protected outside and inside the womb are rapidly dwindling. Any help is welcome, even if it comes in the form of Knocked Up and Juno.

here’s some discussion from the pro-abortion tvtropes.org:

In Juno, the main character goes to an abortion clinic, but doesn’t like the place when she gets there. After a protester tells her that fetuses have fingernails, she decides she’ll be putting her baby up for adoption.

* This led to some religious groups publicly praising the film as being pro-life. Word of God says that this missed the point entirely: the purpose of the clinic sequence was to show that Juno had a choice.

* Actually, Juno didn’t seem too phased by the fingernails thing. Her response was, “Fingernails, huh?”…and then she proceeds to enter the clinic, where she’s put off by the fact that it smells like a dentist’s office, and decides to leave. Sure, the fingernails fact may have had a seat at the table of her decision, but it’s not like it somehow tapped into her deeply-held belief that life begins at fingernails, and things with fingernails must live.

o I think you missed that entire clinic sequence. What puts Juno off is that suddenly she notices everyone’s fingernails. Fingernails scratching, fingernails tapping, fingernails picking, fingernails, fingernails, fingernails! It had nothing to do with the smell of the place, it was because the words of the protester girl unnerved her too much to go through with it.

from FutureMovies:

The UK currently has the highest teenage pregnancy rates in Western Europe, but we don’t share the US’ intensity of abortion debate. Perhaps this is one reason why Juno’s pregnancy functions more as a punchline in the trailers on our screens, instead of the swiftly established context for consequences it serves for in the American version.

from the National Right to Life:

We’ve discussed the smash hit Juno three times: once here and twice in Today’s News & Views. It deals with the pregnancy of a 16-year-old Minnesota girl. Despite critics (and the insistence of the leading lady, Ellen Page, who describes herself as “very much pro-choice”), the question for anyone who thought carefully about the film was never whether the Juno set out to be pro-life.

Rather, as the Marxists might say, was the film objectively pro-life? Whatever the intention, did Juno, for example, humanize not only the unborn baby but also all the parties involved? Did it make clear that Juno MacDuff would have had her abortion had it not been for the faithfulness of one lone sidewalk counselor? Did we come away appreciating how we are all frail human beings, looking for what we might see as the “easier” way out of a crisis situation?

Juno accomplished all this and much more. That it did so in spite of what the movers and shakers involved in the project may have wanted speaks volumes.

from pro-abortion commenter Liz Foley at Susie Bright’s Journal:

Susie, as soon as I saw the title of this post I knew you were going to say what I’ve been thinking ever since I first saw the “Juno” trailer. I haven’t even seen “Waitress” yet (it’s winging its way to me from Netflix as we speak), but the one-two punch of “Knocked Up” and “Juno,” and the popular and critical acclaim they’ve both been greeted with, has been enough to make me paranoid.

This is the new pro-life sell to a generation of postfeminist, sexually entitled girls and young women: Have the baby, and you’ll be rewarded with a good sexual relationship. (I can’t personally be persuaded that Katherine Heigl and Seth Rogen’s relationship in “Knocked Up” qualifies as such—I found it mostly depressing—but the general public appears to disagree with me.) Theoretically, the anti-abortion movement doesn’t approve of women having and enjoying sexual relationships, especially the pre- or extra-marital kind on display in these two movies, but they’ve always been hypocritical and opportunistic, not to say desperate, enough to use whatever weapons came to hand, and they do take particular satisfaction in seizing feminism’s own values and victories for use in their antifeminist cause (cf., especially, the tactics of the anti-abortion Feminists for Life).

Hence the new message: the way to good sex in a stable relationship is through childbearing. Anybody who’s been a parent, or even lived in the real world with their eyes open for a few years, is laughing more or less bitterly at that thought, but can’t you just see its pernicious fairy-tale appeal to a lot of girls and women (not all of them young women, either)? The new wrinkle that “Juno” contributes to the message is that you don’t even have to raise the child yourself, girls. Just HAVE the f###ing thing, and the love and sex you long for can still be yours. In both these movies, conveniently for traditionalism, the love and sex are to be obtained from the actual father of the baby, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see even this rule relaxed, as long as the woman does the all-important thing, having the baby.

No, I don’t think that Judd Apatow or Diablo Cody are pro-life themselves—probably not even subconsciously. But their movies nonetheless play beautifully into the movement’s hands: Look, the antis can say with fingers pointing, even the godless leftists of Hollywood are starting to see the light! And with the arrival of “Juno,” a previously unaddressed segment of the adolescent girl population is targeted: eccentrics and rebels. You might dismiss the example of Katherine Heigl—after all, her character is just a boring yuppie. But when someone as smart, irreverent and independent as Ellen Page’s character decides she can’t go through with an abortion because the fetus “has fingernails,” giving in to the have-the-baby party line can be passed off as actually resisting peer pressure and fearlessly embracing one’s individual impulses.

from pro-abortion commenter Susannah Indigo at Susie Bright’s Journal:

I was thoroughly creeped out by “Juno”, left the theater feeling like I’d just watched a really well-made right-wing anti-abortion flick. The whole thing irked me, in spite of the humor — unbelievable patter from teenagers, unbelievable abortion-clinic, a teenage boy dumber than any I’ve ever met, some weird underlying message that babies are like little gifts you give away, even to crappy control-freak women like Jennifer Garner’s character, and of course the happily-ever-after life implied for the girl afterward, apparently no big deal, just wisecrack your way through high school while pregnant!

Advertisements
This entry was posted in All Movies. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Juno

  1. Pingback: Welcome | Abortion in Film

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s