Juno!!! If I hadn't known better I would've thought it was some super action movie- like X- Men, or these new period based action flicks that come these days- I just don't find men in skirts all that sexy.In fact, not at all. But thanks to all the good things I've done in my past life I realized that Juno wasn't about an ancient hero/heroine but was a proper movie. Don't argue with me about what a proper movie is. Go see Juno.
Anyway, Juno handles the topic of teen pregnancy in a way no one could've ever thought of. It doesn't get melodramatic about it. She does try committing suicide but that feels like the lamest thing anyone could do. And she feels the same way. It doesn't get crass about it. In fact it treats it as rather matter-of-fact. So you're in shit. What do you do ? You deal with it. And that doesn't necessarily mean you've to suddenly grow up overnight. As Juno puts it " I'm dealing with issues way beyond my maturity level". Neither are there scenes where she has crazy epiphanies. She wants the kid to grow up in a wholesome family and looks for prospective parents in the ad pages of the newspaper. Its where you go for everything. She doesnt want compensation or money. Nor does she want regular updates about the kid after she's given it to the adoptive parents. She wants the perfect parents for her kid though. And as a teenager she has simple ideas about what perfection is. And then later she realizes that not all is peachy and she has to make a decision. And it is then that she makes it. Without losing any of her dreams but growing rather in realizing that there are more ways than 1 to achieve it. She isn't unconventional. Unconventional would be to do something drastic like trying to bring up the baby herself. She gives it in for adoption. Juno questions whether its ever possible that two people can really truly stay in love. And then she decides that she is in love with the boy she's known for ages, the one who got her pregnant in the first place. Her father tells her that its best to be with someone who accepts you for you her. For her, its the boy next door. She's not mad at him for ruining her life and all that. She feels a teenager's love for him, and he feels the same about her. And nothing's changed. Except- yes she's pregnant. But then again "in the next 34 odd weeks, we can pretend that none of this happened". Yes, she's made a mistake. She doesn't want to abort it. Someone said "babies have fingernails" and that led to something snap inside her and she can't do it. It happens to all of us; something rather trivial makes us own the truth to ourselves. And it isn't as if she doesn't love the baby. It isn't as if its a blemish upon her entire existence; yes! she has to apply cocoa butter so her skin won't explode and all and she only half amusedly asks why everyone keep staring at her. Coz she's doing so much to act as if nothing is new/odd about her. And wouldn't it be great if the world would just "do her a solid" and play along. But much as she tries, she's still a lil girl, who gets angry when the guy she has a crush on decides to go on a date with someone else. Of course, she can't go. She's pregnant. When she confronts her teenage "almost boyfriend" and says "at least you don't have to carry the evidence under your sweater" we realize how truly overwhelming this must be and how truly well she's handling it. It is the beauty of the movie that until that point, none of us realize how hard it must be for this girl. We too have started acting like it is a pretty normal thing. She strikes a friendship with the adoptive father; coz she connects to him- they shares taste in music and horror movies. She probably feels at home. Here at last is someone who doesn't stare, and she doesnt have to suppress the guilt of what she's done. He even gives her a Japanese comic of a pregnant superhero character. And all this comfort is probably only because he too feels at home with her. Later of course, it seems obvious that it is so; since the adoptive father is an immature person who doesnt have the courage to grow up. The adoptive mother is distant, altogether too apprehensive, altogether too nervous. But she's a woman; aching to be a mom. And Juno, as we do, comes to realize this. The adoptive father wants to move out of home which gets Juno questioning about whether perfect parents ever happen- whether Juno's kid will ever have a good home which the kid obviously deserves and Juno obviously can't give. She's 16 she says. She can't be ready to be a parent. And finally she realizes that its ok to give it to a single parent; coz the adoptive mom will truly love the child. That woman truly wants to be a mom. And Juno's kid will truly be happy. And she gives birth to a healthy baby. Juno doesn't want to see the kid. She's happy with her boyfriend; who she has made amends with, who comes to the hospital to be with her. And that's all that really matters. That everyone's happy; even if it isn't perfect families resonating everywhere, its happy people in healthy relationships.
I don't think the movie professes that all teenagers should get pregnant. It makes that very clear. Her dad and step-mom are miffed, but ultimately they decide to support her in deciding the give the baby up for adoption. But if these things happen, the world's not over! And even there the movie isn't sitting on some moralistic highground. And doesn't seem like a self-help book. You can sit in the theatre, enjoy every dialogue, the wonderfully fresh music, every subtle hint, at what's really happening and walk out of the movie-hall wondering how they could be stupid enough not to use protection. And that would be ok. You can wonder if the whole thing wasn't treated altogether too lightly. But even if it were, the outcomes were what psychotherapists charge you by the nose for. All's well that ends well. I haven't done justice to how good the movie is. True justice to the movie would be to go see it :) Again! Which I'm about to. Again :)