Sunday, February 24, 2008

What's wrong with Juno?


So I saw Juno a while ago, sure, and I enjoyed it. It was well done, it made me laugh; and it had some very good acting, I thought... the character arcs for Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner were especially clever and not overstated. Ellen Page's Juno was lovable as hell.

However: while a lot of other people absolutely adored the film, *woo awesome unreservedly*, – I just didn't. I couldn't get behind it without something nagging at me, something I couldn't quite put my finger on. Folks, I am not wholehearted in my appreciation of Diablo Cody's cinematic accomplishments. But it's taken me a little while to figure out why this is so. I mean hey, I liked the film, already! Why couldn't I just praise it without feeling off?

Well, I think I've figured it out. So, okay, hear me out: the character of Juno is, at heart, a very clever and canny girl. She's funny and she's smart, the whole way through the film. Secondly: her decision to have sex is her own, it's (implied to be, more or less) a premeditated act, and she isn't drunk or otherwise distracted at the time. So: why does an otherwise intelligent young woman decide to have sex without using any fucking protection? Seriously, what's up? I just don't get it. Surely she knows that she's likely to get pregnant by doing this, so what the hell is she thinking? Juno isn't drunk, she isn't having sex against her will, the event isn't especially spur-of-the-moment – what on earth is her excuse? I am genuinely mystified, here. Don't all teenagers live more or less in mortal terror of pregnancy? I know the concept worried me a hell of a lot, when I was 16. (Heck, I'm 26 now and I'm still not unconcerned).

Is this an American thing, perhaps? Is sex education genuinely so lax there, are condoms genuinely so difficult to obtain (if you're a teenager)? I'm boggling. That an otherwise intelligent girl would be as reckless as Juno seems to be – it may or may not be realistic (and it's a movie, anyway, 'realistic' is not necessarily the point or the aim), but either way this aspect of the premise jarred my suspension of disbelief no end. I could never get totally absorbed into the film without it nagging at the back of my mind. I still can't.

Maybe I'm being unreasonable, or there's something obvious that I'm overlooking. Maybe I'm just thinking about it too much. Maybe I should track down Diablo Cody and ask her...

nifty name, 'diablo'. can't deny that.

--the Cinematic Thoapsl

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