Juno is a 2007 independent Dramedy film. It stars Ellen Page and Michael Cera and is directed by Jason Reitman, with a screenplay written by Diablo Cody. It was nominated for four Academy Awards; it won for Original Screenplay.
After having sex with her friend Paulie Bleeker, sixteen-year-old Juno MacGuff finds out that she is pregnant. After confronting her parents, and considering having an abortion, Juno decides to give her baby up for adoption. Looking in the local newspaper, she finds a couple whom she deems to be the perfect parents. Upon meeting them, though they look like they live a charmed life, she sees the couple may not have it all together. This causes Juno to re-examine the relationships in her own life, and wonder if any kind of love can really last a lifetime.
This movie provides examples of:
- Adorkable: Paulie Bleeker, natural for a Michael Cera character.
- All Guys Want Cheerleaders: References the trope, but subverts it (Popular Guy seems to find Juno more attractive even if he chooses to date the cheerleader types).
- Ambiguous Ending: Is Juno truly happy with giving her son up to Vanessa? Is Vanessa up to the task of raising him? Both questions are left up in the air.
- Ambiguously Jewish: A poster of the Hebrew alphabet on Paulie's wall is the only clue. Jason Reitman points out a Bar Mitzvah certificate on it in the commentary.
- An Aesop: Not so much "Teen Pregnancy sucks" (which pretty much goes without saying) as "A true love will stick with you no matter what happens... including getting pregnant as a teenager."
- Also, "There is no perfect formula for a happy family". Just about every character has family problems (divorce, step-parents etc.), yet none of them are depicted as broken or troubled because of it.
- Animated Credits Opening
- Artistic License Biology: Despite what the ditzy Su-Chin says, fetuses wouldn't have fingernails that early in the pregnancy.
- Asian Speekee Engrish: On paper, it would appear that Su-Chin was supposed to be portrayed this way. In practice, she speaks with no accent whatsoever, making her bad grammar just seem... odd.
- Beam Me Up, Scotty! (in-universe): While Juno shouting "Thunder Cats are goooooo!!" as she went into labor was awesome, the correct quote is "Thunder Cats hoooooooo!!" She could have confused that with "Thunderbirds are gooooooo!!"
- Beat: Used to enforce the awkward mood in some of the scenes. Notably, the script actually refers to one when Mark is suggesting that he isn't ready to father Juno's baby as "A long hideous beat".
- Book-Ends: It began and ended with a chair.
- Brick Joke: In an early sequence Juno opens in voiceover that Steve Rendazo, a popular jock that regularly torments her, secretly wants her. By the end of the movie she's reunited with Bleeker and the two publicly make out. Cut to Steve Rendazo, looking away in shame and jealousy.
- Also the repeated insistence that having sex wasn't Paulie's idea; even Juno's stepmother states it, and Paulie is thoroughly confused by the notion that it wasn't his idea.
- Buffy Speak and/or Totally Radical: Much of the dialogue in the movie. "Honest to blog" is the most infamous line.
- Comically Missing the Point: As Juno is telling her parents that she is pregnant:Mac: Who is the kid?Juno: The-the baby? I don't really know much about it other than, I mean, it has fingernails, allegedly.Bren: Nails, really?Juno: Yeah!Mac: No, I mean, who's the father, Juno?
Gerta Rauss: So how far along are you?Juno: I'm a junior.
- Also occurs when Juno first meets with the Lorings and their lawyer:
- Coming-of-Age Story
- Dating What Daddy Hates: Surprisingly averted. Though he's understandably annoyed that he got her pregnant, Juno's dad doesn't seem to have any real qualms about Juno dating Paulie. If anything, he seems impressed that Paulie was virile enough to get anyone pregnant, though he does still say he wants to punch him "in the wiener" next time he sees him.
"She's just... different."
- On the other hand Paulie's mother doesn't like Juno.
- Deadpan Snarker: Juno. And most of the other characters as well.
- The Ditz: Leah comes the closest, though she does help Juno, proving she isn't totally useless, like when she suggests that Juno check the Pennysaver for adoption ads.
- Also Su-Chin, as noted.
- Dress Hits Floor: Cherry print briefs hit the floor.
- FaceHeel Turn: Mark. He spends the first half of the movie as "the cool adult" compared to the more uptight Vanessa, and Juno forms a close friendship with him. Then he leaves Vanessa just as she's about to adopt Juno's baby, and comes off as an irresponsible deadbeat dad.
- Full-Name Basis:
- Paulie Bleeker is frequently referred to by his full name.
- It's always Katrina de Voort. Who smells like soup; her whole house smells like soup.
- Glamorous Single Mother: Vanessa, apparently.
- Golden Moment: When Juno asks her father if two people can always love each other. It works.
- Good Girls Avoid Abortion: Juno changes her mind about getting an abortion. It is her initial decision, but she drops the idea while in the abortionist's waiting room. After hearing Su-Chin say that the unborn have fingernails (which they don't just yet), she's sitting in the waiting room and sees people doing various things to/with their nails and runs away in a panic. In the commentary, the director mentions that hearing about the fingernails and noticing them for the first time sort of humanized the baby for her. Though interestingly, aside from Su-Chin's protest, abortion isn't treated as evil or wrong by the characters. Though Juno ultimately decided against it, it's clear that she'd have had the love and support of her friends and family either way.
- Grand Romantic Gesture: Juno filling Paulie's mailbox with orange Tic-Tacs.
- Henpecked Husband: Mark. The film examines this more closely as it goes on, asking whether Mark is really as poor and put-upon as he seems, or if this is the reasonable consequences of his Manchild behavior.
- Hipster: Juno, Mark and to a lesser extent, Leah.
- Honor Before Reason: This could be the reason why Juno decides to give her unborn son to Vanessa anyways, despite knowing he'd most likely grow up in a single parent home.
- Jerkass: Mark. Also, the ultra-sound technician who is too opinionated about Juno's ability to raise a child.
- Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Juno.
- Instant Birth: Just Add Water!: Averted.
- Law of Inverse Fertility: Juno has sex with Paulie once and gets pregnant; Vanessa and Mark try for five years without any success.
- Living in a Furniture Store:
- Averted with the MacGuff household, which has a realistic amount of knickknacks and clutter for a working class family, and with Bleeker's room.
- Played straight with Mark and Vanessa's house. Except for Mark's room, which is full of old records and musical paraphernalia and is kind of messy in a sweet way, their home is perfectly arranged and themed in white, beige and glass. After the adoption, Vanessa's night table acquires an appropriate layer of wadded tissues and baby formula.Vanessa is implied to have an orderly life without much 'clutter'. What better way to symbolize that than to have a house with not too many small objects left lying around?
- MacGuffin: Baby location.
- Mama Bear: Surprisingly, Bren turns aggressive when the ultrasound nurse makes a passing comment on teenage pregnancy. It's pretty awesome and heartwarming.Bren: What is your job title exactly?
Nurse: I'm an ultrasound technician, ma'am.
Bren: Well, I'm a nail technician and I think we both ought to just stick to what we know.
Nurse: Excuse me?
Bren: Oh, you think you're so special because you get to play Picture Pages up there? Well, my five year old daughter could do that and let me tell you, she's not the brightest bulb in the tanning bed. So why don't you go back to night school in Mantino and learn a real trade?
(Technician shuts up and leaves)
- Manchild: Mark's fear of commitment to adopting a child with his wife comes from his more selfish fear that doing so will get in the way of his dream of being a "real" musician, which to him means living in lofts and pretending to be an edgy punk rocker. It's worth nothing that, like Juno and her peers, he's definitely a hipster, but the film makes it clear that while those attitudes are fine for teenagers and 20somethings, it makes adults look pathetic. It's implied that part of the reason he's so eager to be friendly with Juno is that being pals with a sixteen-year-old makes him feel younger.
- Then again, he has the guts to openly confront Vanessa about the fact that he isn't happy with the situation and simply not ready for fatherhood yet. Vanessa was the Stepford Smiler all along, following her perfectionism and acting as if everything were just fine while she obviously discouraged Mark's interests. Mark was grown-up enough to point out that there was something off about their relationship.
- Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Juno and Paulie.
- Meaningful Name: Juno was the Roman goddess of childbirth.
- Minnesota Nice: Not as over-the-top as some examples, but Juno and pretty much all of the people who she interacts with are basically nice and understanding. Even when she goes to the abortionist, her protesting classmate doesn't make that big a deal about it.
- Missing Mom: Juno's parents are divorced and she lives with her father, having no contact with her mother except for an inexplicable cactus every Valentine's Day. Mostly averted, though, because of her stepmother, who is far from being a Wicked Stepmother.
- A Mistake Is Born: When Juno conceives a child with her insolvent boyfriend, she nearly terminates the pregnancy. However, having second thoughts, Juno finds a childless couple in the personal ads, and offers to gestate and birth the child for them to adopt.
- Mood Whiplash: A lighter music montage late in the movie was cut in order to avoid this due to it being right after Mark leaves Vanessa.
- The scene where Juno is discussing comic books and dancing with Mark shifts directly to Mark's announcement that he is going to leave Vanessa and wants Juno to come with him.
- Moses in the Bulrushes: How Juno wants to handle the adoption.Juno: "Can't we just kick this old school? I have the baby, put it in a basket and send it your way, like Moses and the reeds?"Mark: "Technically that would be kicking it Old Testament."
- No Antagonist
- One Drink Will Kill the Baby: When she first meets the adoptive parents, pregnant 16-year-old Juno asks for a Maker's Mark to drink."She's kidding. June-bug has a wonderful sense of humor — just one of her many genetic gifts."
- Poster-Gallery Bedroom: Both Juno and Leah's bedrooms.
- Protagonist Title
- Pursue the Dream Job: Mark is interested in music and works as a successful jingle composer. His dream has been to become a rock musician.
- Rule of Cool: Why did Juno spend the night moving and setting up an entire living room set on Paulie's front yard? Because it's simply more dramatic!
- Running Gag
- Sex Equals Love: Almost averted. Before the film's start, Juno has broken it with Paulie, though they're still good friends. However, after several misadventures and a disillusionment about the possibility of True Love, Juno comes to realize that Bleeker is her number one. Juno herself remarks that usually it's "fall in love, then reproduce."
- An acoustic version of Doll Parts from Live Through This by Hole is performed.
- A very minor one. When Juno is asked about whether her band is getting back together, she replies: "Once Tino gets a new drumhead, we should be ready to rock." Hinting at My So-Called Life.
- Thunder Cats are goooooo!
- The B-movies and records that Mark and Juno watch, listen to and talk about.
- Skirt over Slacks: Part of Juno's wardrobe through most of the film. At one point, she takes off the skirt when she goes to see Paulie, which Word of God says he knows her well enough to give her a hard time about.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: The attitude Juno takes toward teen pregnancy is very idealistic, albeit not altogether positive. (Juno's complaining about being called the "Cautionary Whale" is Played for Laughs, for instance.)
- Smoking Is Cool: Juno holds an empty pipe during her initial confrontation with Paulie. It's empty, but it looks cool.
- Snark Knight: Juno's snarkiness grows along with the baby.
- Spiritual Successor: To Junior, which was directed by Jason Reitman's father.
- Stealth Pun: Juno's namesake is the Roman goddess of, among other things, fertility and childbirth. The protagonist even says that she was named after the goddess.
- Stepford Smiler:
- Mark though his smile does indeed break before long.
- Straw Character: Vanessa doesn't overtly espouse any political ideology, but her mode of attire, affluence, up-by-the-bootstraps approach to business, and residence in a pricy and (presumably) all-white gated community indicate a conservative/libertarian mindset.
- Sugar-and-Ice Personality: Juno
- Teen Pregnancy: Juno gets pregnant.
- Their First Time: "It all started with a chair." Although Word of God says while it was Paulie's first time, it wasn't Juno's. This is also mentioned in a conversation between Leah and Juno from the screen test which wasn't in the final film. This was just the first time there were consequences.
Paulie Bleeker: "I still have your underwear."Juno: "I still have your virginity"
- Also a bit of dialogue implies that only Paulie was a virgin.
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Juno and Leah, respectively.
- Ungrateful Bastard: Mark gets paid a pretty penny to write music, but that's not enough for him. Granted, it's not the same as being a famous musician, but considering how many artists don't get to make careers out of their passions at all, he looks like a real asshole for complaining.
- Wicked Stepmother: Averted. Brenda makes sure Juno is healthy during her pregnancy, defends her against a rude ultrasound technician, and generally supports her along the way (and refers to her as "my kid").
- In fact, that's later used in the conversation between Juno and her father, about whether or not there are still people in happy relationships. Her dad points out that while his first marriage with Juno's mom didn't turn out well, things with Brenda were still going very good.
- Juno does, however, see her biological mother this way. She describes that sending Juno a cactus every Valentine's Day present is her mother's only contact with her, and Juno even refers to her half-siblings as her mother's "replacement kids."
- It is also noteworthy that while she never refers to her three half-siblings by her mother as her siblings, she DOES refer to Brenda's daughter as her sister.