2.6.10

Juno

Not a film about teenage pregnancy, doofus. Those tripping that it is all quirk and no reality, listen up -- the film works as fable. No srsly, listen! Mark and Vanessa are avatars for Juno's warring natures. The film is about growing up, which is defined as figuring out what you want. Everything else is comedy.

Point underlined by the look of the thing. Note the cartoony opening credits sequence, and the fact that the film radiates colour. Even its bleakest scene looks warm. And speaking of, that extreme long shot of Juno pulling her van back onto the motorway, a train moving slowly on one side, a river flowing on the other. What a frame! A visual symbol, surely, of Juno being wrecked by the pull of opposing forces: passion, reason; innocence, experience; Mark, Vanessa. May we have some applause for Mr. Jason Reitman, please?

And isn't Diablo Cody amazing as well? Let's look at the name she picks for her heroine: Juno, the Roman queen goddess. Beautiful, mean, and envious of her husband's infidelities. Juno lives up to her namesake in her attack on Bleeker for asking the much ridiculed Katrina De Voort to the prom. For me, this layering signals that we need to read the film as myth. Stop it, listen! The dance between Vanessa, Mark, Juno and Bleeker serves to furnish the audience with a timeless moral -- the importance of understanding who you are, and who other people are. At the beginning of the film, Juno cannot see herself clearly. She doesn't know what kind of girl she is, she tells her parents, although she acts like she does. Mark has the same problem. Vanessa and Blinker don't have that problem, they know exactly what they want. But Vanessa cannot see her significant other clearly. Bleeker can, and loves Juno anyway. He's the constant. The three other characters have their respective fantasies (of perfect families or Rolling Stone careers) dismantled. They have to face up to reality, in all its wonderful imperfections. That's what being a grown up is about.

That make sense? No? To me it does. I should say, there's nothing of the above in the commentary on the DVD, although Cody did stay pretty quiet. My reading is influenced by the attempt to pick out connections with Cody's second film, Jennifer's Body (worshipped over here). But it all serves to stress that Diablo Cody isn't just some poser with a knack for slangy dialogue. There is a sharp intelligence here, and it'll be fascinating to see where and how it next manifests.

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