I saw Juno when it came out in theaters, and I have not seen it since. A friend asked me about my thoughts on it after watching it on video, and I put them down on paper. They aren’t a proper “review,” but simply some observations. Here’s what I got:
I think the message is basically that life is good and worth the “bumps” that come up along the way. Even though things can seem incredibly threatening, if you believe (in yourself? the integrity of man?) you’ll see that people are basically good. Even when certain people show themselves to be bad (in this case, the perspective adopting father), the goodness of the others makes it all worth it.
So basically, the movie lacks a “Christian worldview.” However, it is better than the typical dark movie, where life is hopeless, as well as the typical teeny-bopper film where there are no worries and free fun all around. Juno is, rather, a happy sort of realism.
We’re glad that Juno didn’t have the abortion, that’s for sure. The fact that the fetus had fingernails proved its humanity. So, it is pro-life.
We also learn that you have to grow up and take responsibility. The would-be father never did this. He kept his 90s grunge records, comic books, and rock t-shirts. The wife tells him that she’s tired of waiting for him to become Kurt Cobain (the success/suicide case).
But unfortunately, “true love” is still rather romanticized. Juno decides that she really has found someone who’s good for her, which isn’t bad in itself, but there is not much guidance and little commentary on possible marriage (though I could be forgetting some things). Juno’s parents are largely failures. The dad is a weak leader who spends too much time in front of the TV, BUT he is kind and merciful, for which we can be glad.
Perhaps the biggest problem is that Juno is just too smart. There’s no way she should know about all those comics, movies, and bands from the ’70s. She’s also terribly quick-witted and a better leader than her parents. This presentation retains the “kids know best” attitude that we learned by watching Nickelodeon. Even as we know we have to grow up, we know that the real power lies in the youth. The adults are not very adult-like.
Michael Cera’s character was also somewhat disappointing as a person, however likable he was. He should have known better than to go to the Prom with another girl. Why wasn’t he more convicted by the whole experience? Did he care that much? I’m sure he did, but he seemed rather comfortable sitting it out.
And perhaps we also learn that kids are, in fact, not adults yet. In Juno they are still playing video games, goofing off, doing the high school thing. They should enjoy being kids. There’s no need to be adults *yet.* I think the movie captured some of this, as Juno complains about missing out on normal teenager stuff. The kids were not ready to be parents, and so adoption was a good thing, even if they lacked the appropriate conviction of sin.
So the movie is a sort of half and half. There’s no clear messiah in the message. If there had been, I suppose it would have lost its “realism.” But there’s also no clear moral guidance, and I think that’s what leaves us unsure.
On the other hand, the message is pretty good when viewed from within the context in which it lives. Cheating on your loved one is bad. Not sticking with your girl while she’s pregnant is bad. Being friends with your spouse is good. Human life is good. Being a kid is good when you’re a kid, and being a grown up is good when you’re a grown up.
So I’d encourage appreciation where at all possible. The lack of clear morality is troublesome, and so not everyone should see Juno. Parents and leaders most definitely SHOULD though. The picture of teenage life is pretty right on, with the possible caveat that they aren’t that smart.
Great soundtrack too.