Juno, released in 2007, is a quirky offbeat movie with the same sleepy, Indy vibe as Napoleon Dynamite. Juno MacGruff, played by Ellen Page, is a sixteen-year old girl who becomes pregnant. The father is none other than her friend of several years, Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera). Juno first decides on getting an abortion. On the way there, a solo pro-life activist tells her that her baby has fingernails. At first, Juno brushes that off, but it continues to plague her while she waits in the clinic. The longer she stays in the clinic the more uncomfortable she becomes, and she eventually leaves.
So Juno turns to a second option – adoption. The perfect couple she found for her baby falls apart when the husband, Marc, decides to leave his wife Vanessa. Though shaken, Juno does not give up on her baby’s future, but decides to continue with the adoption with Vanessa as a single mother. There’s a happy ending for all as the baby and Vanessa can begin their lives together, and Juno finally admits her feelings for Paulie Bleeker, so they can be in a real relationship.
This movie truly captures what issues a young girl has to face with an unplanned pregnancy. It’s a big surprise, and panicking is a natural reaction – how will people react? Many girls are terrified of telling their parents because they fear possible shame, disappointment, and anger. It’s a difficult time to remember that good and loving parents, while disappointed, will always get past their initial reactions to care for their child and grand-child. School will also be a big adjustment, especially with the reaction of peers. Juno, who was already not popular, had to put up with judgmental looks and taunting. And the mother is not the only one involved. Telling the father is always a big pressure – will he blame himself? Will he blame the mother? Will he be there for her or run away from his responsibilities? Juno’s case is especially complicated because the father is one of her good friends, not an official boyfriend. She has to worry about the impact on their friendship as well as the support he may or not give her.
What changes her mind is the pro-life girl, the only voice against her having an abortion. The only thing that sinks in is interesting: the baby has fingernails. We quickly see a scene where Juno begins to panic – is she wrong? Should she keep her baby? It’s that one fact that convinces Juno of her baby’s humanity. It’s a quiet, insistent but gentle never-the-less, voice that is able to change her mind.
So what’s the big idea what we can take from this? Of course we want to keep in mind that we must be understanding and gentle in our discussions with concerned mothers. It’s important to appreciate the emphasis this movie puts on alternative options to abortion. But above all, is the theme of perseverance. We can’t give up on mothers or their babies. Everything in this time will be turbulent – support has to come from any relationship possible. Even if it isn’t a relative or close friend, there is always something you can do so that they know they aren’t alone or lost. Restore that faith in humanity.
-Gabby Munoz, COL ’18
Media Co-Chair GURTL