Analysis of the Movie Juno
Jason Reitman’s film Juno is a coming of age film about a young teenage girl having to grow up quickly and learn from her own actions that resulted in a teenage pregnancy. Juan Tarancon a writer for the Cultural Studies Journal claims that Juno was released during a “time of conflicting discourses on sexual education.” (Tarancon, 1) At this time sexual education wasn’t a main priority and the youth were increasingly sexualized. Reitman’s film developed an unspoken educational purpose. One that showed young teens their options when it came to sex and teen pregnancy. The film touches on abortion, adoption, and keeping the child, all of those are options that can be made when it comes to teen pregnancy or any pregnancy. Abortion laws in the United States in 2007 were allowed but definitely not widely accepted. Juno offered an educational insight and Reitman showed teens the possibilities of teen pregnancy. Jason Reitman is a Canadian director born on October 19, 1977. His father Ivan Reitman is also a director and gave Jason Reitman his inspiration for directing film. Jason Reitman however, wanted to be different, he turned down big budget movies for television commercials. Finally, Reitman directed Thank You for Smoking and Juno which he got praise for his use of satire that was different than his fathers. According to the Film Comment critics gave Juno a plethora of scores, some as little as one star to as high as five stars. The satirical script and subject of the movie itself may have been its down fall for certain critics, for example how female sexuality is gestated in popular western culture and this film exemplifies all that goes wrong in young teen sexuality.
What really drew Reitman to the film were the characters ‘I like that the characters defy convention and are people who make personal, as opposed to political, choices for themselves, just like in real life.’ (Lee, par. 3.) The lead actress Ellen Page went on to say that because her character was so well written it was easy for her to connect to Juno. She also labeled the success of the film on the unforgettable personalities of the characters. The movie was praised for its highly creative dialogue and how the genre of the movie typically falls into comedy. Juno takes on a seriously political topic in a satirical manner with an attempt to make no notion of any political beliefs but with an additive of comedy. The inspiration of the film lies within screenwriter Diablo Cody’s personal life. Cody based the entirety of the story on a childhood friend who became pregnant and also chose not to have an abortion. (Lee, par. 4.) Reitman however could relate to the other side of the story which was adoption. Reitman’s parents adopted a child when the director was twelve years old. (Lee, par. 4.) To many critics their connection to the story made the movie that much more believable, that they really understood their subject matter and knew how to make it come to life on screen.
How it works
The character of Juno, how well written and portrayed she was is one of the explanations to why this low budget comedic film with a neophyte screenwriter and a new to film industry director got four Oscar nominations and over 100 million in box office revenue. The budget of the film needless to say did not affect production. The film had heart in places where CGI was not needed, it was a story of a girl finding herself amidst the chaos of her life and didn’t need a multimillion-dollar budget. The film despite the budget out did itself and became a success no one working on it was expecting. Overall Juno provided numerous commodities such as education for young teens (whether they knew it or not), laughs through its comedic background, and a feel-good movie that left us all happy after the ending. Juno made us all grow up quickly and follow the characters on a frustrating yet rewarding journey full of love, family, and life decisions.
- “Critics’ Choice.” Film Comment, vol. 44, no. 1, 2008, pp. 12–12. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/43458884.
- “Jason Reitman.” Biography, 2019, pp. 1-2. A&E TELEVISION NETWORKS, https://www.biography.com/people/jason-reitman-267538
- Juan Antonio Tarancón (2012) Juno (Jason Retiman, 2007): A Practical Case Study of Teens, Film and Cultural Studies, Cultural Studies, 26:4, 442-468, DOI: 10.1080/09502386.2011.591496
- Willis, J.L. Sexuality & Culture (2008) 12: 240. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12119-008-9035-9
- Lee, Nicola. “Juno.” BeThinking, 2008, pp. 1-2 CULTUREWATCH, https://www.bethinking.org/culture/juno