Thursday, June 19, 2008

Juno--somewhat spoilerish

My husband and I finally saw Juno a few days ago. I liked it a lot, and understood exactly why Barbara Nicolosi talked about that Juno seeming to exist outside the movie, how by the end of the movie, it's like she's an old friend. I also understand the critics who complained about the excessive quirkiness of the heroine and the fuzziness about why exactly she decides to have the baby, but I'd point out that Juno's quirkiness and the self-conscious stiffness of the dialogue fade out noticeably by the middle of the film, around the time that Juno is getting to know her baby's prospective parents. While Juno is rising to the occasion and growing up fast to deal with her pregnancy, Mark (the prospective adoptive father) is moving in the opposite direction--he reacts to Juno and impending parenthood by trying to seize the day and relive his lost youth. Not knowing which way he's going to go ultimately, the ending is very suspenseful. Will he make a play for Juno, or will he take his affection for Juno and the sense of kinship he feels toward her and use it to be a better father to her baby? Or will something else entirely different happen? There's no sense of inevitability.

There are a couple of moments toward the end where exterior reality intrudes, at least for me. Within the movie, Juno does a closed adoption and Bleeker (the biological father) doesn't even look at the baby, and everybody lives happily ever after. There's something a little bit wrong about the way the filmmakers handle that--it's all a little bit too easy. My problem with it is that despite being very young, Bleeker and Juno are obviously a match made in heaven and they seem to have a beautiful future together. If their relationship continues happily into adulthood, won't there come a time when they'll regret the closed adoption and the fact that their first child is growing up in another home? On the whole, I would have preferred to see Juno's dad and stepmom bring up Juno's baby.

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