Juno Film Analysis
Juno is a coming-of-age drama that was aired in 2007. This film explores how a 16-year-old interdependent teenager deals with an unplanned pregnancy. The plot of this movie showcases some of the challenges teenagers face and their transition from childhood to young adulthood. This transition is part of development, and it affects the emotional, physical, and mental aspects of their lives. Other themes that have been highlighted in the movie include platonic, romantic, and family relationships, adolescent cognition, and teenage pregnancy. These themes are part of everyday life challenges that teenagers must overcome. Juno is a pro-adulthood comedic drama that explores the challenges teenagers face and the role adults and positive relationships have in promoting mental and emotional stability.
Juno is a 16-year-old teenage girl who decides to experiment with sex and sleeps with her friend Paulie. Their experiment results in an unplanned teenage pregnancy that initially pushes Juno to consider an abortion. As the story develops, we are introduced to Juno’s struggles with her emotions for her friend and now the baby’s father, Paulie. We also see Juno change her mind about abortion as she decides to put her baby up for adoption. Juno’s friend, Leah, helps her search for a childless couple that can provide a suitable home for the baby. Their search results in the introduction of Mark and Vanessa, a married and childless couple that want to adopt a child. As Juno gets to know this couple, we see her relationship with Mark and Vanessa develop differently. During their interactions, Mark develops a romantic interest in Juno. These feelings, a poor relationship, and not wanting to be a parent are part of the reasons Mark and Vanessa end their marriage. With time, Juno and Vanessa develop a trusting bond. As a result, Juno entrusts her child to Vanessa through a close adoption despite her newly single marital status. The film also reveals how the pregnancy affects Juno’s relationship with her family, the baby’s father, and friends. At the end of the film, we see Juno and her parents grow closer. We also see Juno’s and Paulie’s relationship transform from a platonic friendship to a happy romantic relationship.
Adolescence is a period in which individuals begin to develop more complex thinking. During this period, teenagers begin to form new questions and ideas and compare different viewpoints and opinions. The change from concrete thinking during childhood to formal logical thinking during adolescence helps teenagers deal with the new changes they experience. These cognitive changes occur between 12 and 18 and are grouped into early adolescence, middle adolescence, and late adolescence. Juno, who is 16, falls under middle adolescence, and this age is characterized by complex thinking processes that address futuristic and philosophical concerns (Anil & Bhat, 2020). During middle adolescence, teenagers begin to form their code of ethics, question and analyze things more extensively, think in the long term, make their own future goals, and develop their sense of identity (Lehalle, 2020). These traits are evident in the way Juno deals with her unplanned pregnancy.
When Juno first discovers she is pregnant, she calls the women’s clinic and tells them she would like “to procure a hasty abortion.” In the clinic, she is taken from the pregnancy test room to the delivery room, and during this process, we see her emotions change. In the end, she decides that she no longer wants to abort her baby. This change in emotion can be attributed to her code of ethics. As it no longer feels right to abort the baby, she decides to keep it and find an alternative means. After deciding to keep her child, we see Juno admit that she is not equipped to raise the baby. She also admits that she wants her child to grow up in a happy family hence the reason she chooses a well-off couple who want to adopt a child. These choices show complex thinking. By deciding to give her baby up for adoption, we see Juno make plans for her and her child. Juno’s sense of identity is evident through her decisions and perspectives. For instance, her saying that she is not ready to be a mother shows that she understands her capabilities. Her sense of self is also evident in her ability to avoid falling into depression despite realizing that she is “dealing with things way beyond [her] maturity level.” Overall, Juno navigates this identity crisis period by finding a proper mix between her adolescent age and her new role as a pregnant teenager. This proper mix allows her to discover a sense of self that improves her life and the lives of the people in her life.
Juno is a film that explores relationships. The most prominent relationships in this film include Juno’s growing romantic feelings for her friend Paulie, the relationship she shares with her father Mac and her stepmother Bren, and her crumbling relationship with Mark and Vanessa, her baby’s adoptive parents. Juno’s relationship with her child’s adoptive parents is influenced by the relationship the couple has. The film presents Vanessa as a perfectionist, and she comes off as uptight. The details and arrangement in her home scream, “Vanessa .”Mark is presented as “childish” and Inconsistent. He loves reading comics and wishes to become a musician. Ultimately, it is revealed that though Vanessa is flawed, her pursuits of motherhood and her care for Juno and the baby are genuine. Mark’s seemingly cool and childish demeanor is shown to be devious as he vilifies his wife and murks about his relationship with Juno by expressing romantic interest. In the end, the Lorings marriage falls apart, and Juno relies on Vanessa while her relationship with Mark becomes tainted. In the end, Juno refers to Mark in a disapproving manner, evident through the statement, “he looks exactly the same.” This statement refers to his boorish manner of clinging to his youth and hitting on much younger girls.
At first, the relationship between Juno and Paulie is platonic; however, it changes after their sexual exploits. After Juno becomes pregnant, it is evident that Paulie wants her. However, he is unwilling to admit his feelings for Juno as he is not certain they share the same feelings. Juno keeps pushing Paulie away; however, her stance changes after discovering Paulie is taking another girl to prom. Out of hurt, Juno tells off Paulie and regrets that their sexual encounter has made her the “cautionary whale .” Romantic relationships are indicators of developmental milestones in teenagers. However, as evident from Juno and Paulie, these relationships tend to be tumultuous due to identity crisis and rapid psychosocial development (McLeod, 2013). Once adolescents develop their sense of self, they can commit to a relationship. In the end, Juno and Paulie admit they like each other, and they begin a relationship. Juno’s parents are portrayed as supportive and warm parents to Juno. While the news of Juno’s pregnancy shocks them, they stand by their daughter and offer her support. For instance, Mac, Juno’s dad, accompanies her when she first meets Mark and Vanessa Loring. Juno’s stepmother shows support by taking her to the antenatal clinic and helping her set boundaries and navigate her relationship with Mark Loring.
Teenage pregnancy is the underlying topic in Juno. The film shows that parents and society can handle teenage pregnancy in mature and responsible ways. While no parent would want their adolescents to get pregnant, cases of teenage pregnancies are relatively common. Based on the reaction Juno’s parents show, the film reveals that news of teenage pregnancy should not result in stigmatization and overreaction. The film promotes a culture of openness, acceptance, and support. This culture enables parents and family members to help pregnant teenagers navigate this challenging phase. A supportive, open, and accepting culture also provides teenagers the power to choose what happens to their pregnancy. For instance, Juno’s parents supported the idea of Juno getting an abortion; however, after Juno changed her mind, they were willing to support her in keeping the baby. They also supported Juno’s decision to give her baby up for adoption.
Juno is a comic drama with an underlying message of pro-adulthood. This film shows audiences the challenges teenagers face as they try to understand themselves and navigate this development stage. The audience is shown that one’s actions and decisions affect the lives of other individuals. Juno also explores different relations and how they affect an individual’s character development. Lastly, the film explores teenage pregnancy and the uncertainty and challenges it causes. Based on the film characters’ actions, Juno provides insight into how adults can solve the challenge of teenage pregnancy in a manner that supports and benefits the adolescents involved. Overall, Juno is a beautifully told coming-of-age film that explores adolescence, the challenges teenagers face, and the importance of positive relationships in promoting stability in a teenager’s life.
Anil, M. A., & Bhat, J. S. (2020). Transitional changes in cognitive-communicative abilities in adolescents: a literature review. Journal of Natural Science, Biology and Medicine, 11(2), 85.
Lehalle, H. (2020). Cognitive development in adolescence: Thinking freed from concrete constraints. In Handbook of adolescent development (pp. 71-89). Psychology Press.
McLeod, S. (2013). Erik Erikson’s stages of psychosocial development.
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