Thursday, December 27

:: Juno

So have any of you seen Juno yet? I'm dying to discuss it with some like-minded souls. I went to see it with my mother, which was interesting in itself. And then my father said later on that he hadn't wanted to see it because he didn't like the premise, i.e. a pregnant 16-year-old. To which I responded that there are about 750,000 teen pregnancies each year in the U.S. so it's not like one movie makes that more or less a reality. (This also seems strange seeing as I work on precisely this issue, but I guess it's okay because I work on the prevention aspect, and of course, prevention always works...)

I don't have to go on about the fact that there are barely any pop culture examples where women actually make the choice to have an abortion. And while I will give the movie props for the fact that she at least goes to an abortion clinic, it was not a great portrayal. (Plus, to be technical, the movie takes place in Minnesota, and they make reference to having to involve your parents at one clinic but not another, which doesn't make sense unless she's going to another state without a parental notification law like Minnesota has. Also, Minnesota has a 24-hour waiting period law, and they make it seem like she just went to the clinic and could have had the abortion immediately and been on her way, and it wouldn't have been that easy.) Even without all the technicalities, they did make it seem like you can just pop in for an abortion after school and be home for dinner, and it is a little bit more complicated than that. I could almost understand if you were a concerned state legislator watching this that you would think there need to be some more procedures in place to make sure women are making informed choices when she barely got past the waiting room. That being said, I also could see how being 16 and alone in that waiting room might be enough to make you decide against the whole thing without having had any more information than she had at that moment. And as my mother said, she did make her own choice even if she didn't have all the information and support that I wish she would have had.

Overall, though, the movie did a good job at showing why adoption is not the be all and end all solution to the problem of unintended teen pregnancies - it's complicated and messy and has lots of unintended consequences that spill out all over the place in ways that 16-year-olds can't foresee. And the movie does a great job of portraying that messiness. I won't give away too much of the plot, but I also felt an enormous amount of empathy for the prospective adoptive couple and how much they were so dependent on the whims of this 16-year-old to give them the thing they want most of all because of their inability to conceive on their own. But they are also lucky because they have the resources to actually be able to do something about their situation. (I am forever haunted by this story I read in the Washington Post magazine several years ago about infertile couples who don't have the resources to invest in adoption and infertility treatments and how few options are available to them for having children, although I guess becoming a foster parent is always one option.)

In the end, reproduction can be quite complicated when it doesn't take place within certain boundaries, and the movie portrays the messiness and complexity quite well. While I may quibble with certain parts of the movie, this larger point remains true. And it's definitely thought-provoking - I've been thinking about it for hours, and I hope it's generating discussion among people seeing it about some issues that often times people would rather not discuss. But we love to discuss thing so I'd love to hear your thoughts if you've seen it. And if you haven't, I recommend it because I want to talk about it with someone...

1 comment:

Ciccina said...

I haven't seen it, and I wasn't planning to... I just figured I'd save myself the aggro. Plus I don't like romantic comedies, in general... the next movie I'll see is the new Aliens vs. Predators. I saw "No Country for Old Men" two weeks ago - talk about "no 'there' there" - what a waste of time. Every bit as overrated as Children of Men was last year.

So I'm afraid I can't comment on Juno... what happens at the end? You can say so long as you write "Spoiler ahead" first. Its okay. Trust me.