By Kimiyo Meadows
I’m sure many Ellen Page fans will agree that the sweet, funny, and now out-and-proud actress first tugged at our heartstrings in the 2007 cult classic, Juno. With infinitely quotable dialogue and a great soundtrack to boot, the coming-of-age story has more to offer than meets the eye.
Many of Juno’s teen comedy and drama predecessors have the same take on teen pregnancy. It’s laid out quite plainly as every parents’ nightmare. Girls who get pregnant at a young age and out of wedlock are portrayed in one of two ways: wild, provocative, and irresponsible – or naïve and misguided. Young parents Juno and Paulie, on the other hand, are just two long-time friends with complicated feelings for each other who ended up expressing their complicated feelings without protection.
The film’s approach to teenage pregnancy is casual without being disrespectful. It shows teen pregnancy the way it tends to works in real life. A cause for some panic, yes. A serious issue, yes. But certainly not the end of the world, and not a situation you can’t still make the best out of. Our title character does so by seeking adoptive parents for her baby immediately after she decides to carry it to term.
More so than the humor and quirkiness, what makes Juno memorable is how it addresses its main character’s misconceptions about parenthood and family. She sums it up well in a conversation with her baby’s adoptive father-to-be, Mark: “I want things to be perfect. I don’t want them to be shitty and broken like everyone else’s family.” Her solid plan to have the baby and send it off to a luxurious life with its adoptive parents doesn’t seem so quick and simple when she finds out that the couple have issues of their own.
Juno’s family and friends help her through her pregnancy with good advice and good humor. It’s fun to watch her relationship develop as well with her awkward but always well-meaning baby daddy, Paulie, portrayed by the go-to actor for awkward young man roles, Michael Cera.
If you haven’t seen Juno yet, you’re missing out. You’ll roll your eyes at some of the lame jokes and outright weird expressions, but film is equal parts funny and feel-good. Even if you’ve already seen it once, it’s definitely worth a rewatch as we celebrate mothers of all ages.