Jump to content
MFTMOM

JUNO- The Movie

Recommended Posts

OKay, so I probably started this topic in the wrong spot, so if I did-can someone move it for me. I never know where to put these things!

I know that we have touched on whether people liked Juno on other parts of the forum, but I was hoping for a place where we could discuss the movie in more depth without worrying about giving it away for those who have not watched it yet.

I saw it for the first time last night and I have to say that I am still processing it. Three things that I am trying to decide are:

1. How true to life do I think it was?

2. Did it have a happy or sad ending?

3. Should it use it in any of my classes- which goes back to question one.

I will think more on these and other questions and come back. For now, I will share one reflection. There were two parts that just brought memories flooding back to me. The first one was where Vanessa comes into the nursery for the first time and they ask if she wants to see her son and placed him in her arms. I became overwhelmed with memories of being with Riley in the nursery for the first time. I cried like a baby- sniffling and everything (there were only three other people in the theatre :blink: ). The second was the moment right after when Juno's step-mother comes in and Vanessa asked her how she looked and the step-mother said "Like a new mother- scared poopyless." I remember as we were leaving the hospital with Riley and we knew that we would be getting together with her birthmom and possibly grandmother the next day, her mom said "I can't wait to see you as new parents tomorrow, all sleep deprived and overwhelmed." I know that this may sound strange, but we both felt that as such a validating moment that parenting is overwhelming and there was not an expectation that we would be perfect or not struggle with the aspects that others struggle with.

I would love to hear thoughts from others.

Bobbi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's interesting that you bring up the question of "how true to life" it was, because lots of people talk about the realism of movies and other than certain scifi movies I'm not really sure how one could assess that. I thought that the writer and cast of Juno did an excellent job of creating the characters -- especially of Juno herself, but the rest of the cast as well -- and I can't immediately think of any parts of it where the characters did things that seemed implausible or unrealistic for who they were presented to be. There are obviously lots of different adoption stories out there, and I think this one was in many ways neither the stereotypical one nor an "average" story or even the story that some of us might want presented as anything close to an ideal. However, I would be curious to hear in what ways people think it didn't feel like it could be an adoption story (or, to be more precise, a 100 minute condensed version of parts of an adoption story -- it was definitely one of those movies where I want to know what happens with the characters five or ten years down the line. Personally, I thought it was very ambiguous whether Juno and Vanessa would stay in contact)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great discussion, Bobbi! I just moved it here because the movie's namesake was a birthmom, and because I'm hoping we'll get more of our birthparents weighing in on this discussion.

I went expecting to not like this film, because Hollywood nearly always makes adoption stories over-the-top ridiculous, but I came away from "Juno" really jazzed about how funny it was and how "real" the characters were.

1) Although we don't often work with teens, Juno (played by Ellen Page, who now has my undying respect) was so representative of the birthmoms we see: fiercely independent, strong, smart, witty, often survivors of splintered families, and more prone to attend to the needs and emotions of others than themselves (which probably has alot to do with that "fiercely independent" splintered-family survivor thing.)

2) Paulie Bleeker (who spawned Juno's sea monkey, ha) is a caricature of the typical birthfather; clueless, more focussed on his needs than the consequences of same, denying his deeper feelings, uniquely attuned to his mother's wishes, all too willing to throw over the birthmom for a new, "unspoilt" girl, unable to bring himself to see the baby, and only peripherally interested in knowing the details of the adoption plan.

3) I thought Juno's parents were perfectly cast, and I loved the scene when her stepmother puts the judgemental sonogram tech in her place! Birthparents are too often subjected to cruel remarks from perjorative medical professionals without having anyone brave enough to come to their defense.

4) My biggest struggle, with the movie as in real life, was with the adoptive parents. Jason Bateman and Jennifer Garner were extremely well cast (indeed, I sat in that theatre with a "de ja vu" feeling, as if I remembered them from a long-ago orientation weekend.) My problem is that I always (and unfairly) want adoptive parents, if they're coming in as the "solution to the problem" of a birthparent's child's future welfare, to be more secure and self-absorbed than any human being possibly can be. I don't want them to be afraid of a child's people. I don't want them to not care deeply and personally about them in a very real way.

Watching Vanessa and Mark Loring in their picture-perfect home, negotiating terms of a baby's adoption with their attorney and the birthmom and her dad made me long for the abolition of private adoption. (Until recent years, adoptive families in CA didn't have to do any homestudy until after the baby to be adopted had lived in their home for up to six months, and how many of those homes, in real life, were no better prepared than the Lorings?!) It was painfully obvious to me, watching this film, how terribly unready the Lorings were, and I flinched at Vanessa's lack of empathy for Juno and her anger towards Mark's comfort with her (which we also see sometimes in real life, when adoptive dads have a better rapport with birthmoms than their wives do, leaving the wife to grapple with a host of uncomfortable emotions.)

Selfishly, I wish that Juno would've chosen another adoptive family after the Lorings elected to split, not because I don't support single parent adoptions, but because I think her son deserved to grow up in a two-parent home in which he wasn't saddled with a recently-divorced mom whose adoption of him seemed primarily focussed on her own needs. (In our agency, we've only ever had one couple in our program who decided to divorce after being accepted and before any match could occur. We declined to work with the wife separately, despite her request, as we'd accepted their application as a couple, and a supposedly-intact one, at that.) Vanessa's discomfort with and lack of interest in Juno and her welfare certainly seemed to suggest that any openness or continuing contact after the adoption would be fleeting and incidental, at best. And in my worldview, truly-deserving parents come to realize that their children deserve to have ongoing access to all those who made them possible.

So: no, this movie didn't have what I would call a Hollywood happy ending. But I think it was realistic and I'm happy that Hollywood has put its money behind a flick that will hopefully revive the public's interest in open adoption as a "real-life" option for those with unplanned pregnancies!?!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Too bad this thread wasn't here last week. I would love to have read your thoughts Bobbi and Elizabeth. Juno was showing in Paris, but I was hesitant about suggesting we go see it when we were visiting "J." I wasn't sure if it would be appropriate. Thanks for the review.

Cathy

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3) I thought Juno's parents were perfectly cast, and I loved the scene when her stepmother puts the judgemental sonogram tech in her place! Birthparents are too often subjected to cruel remarks from perjorative medical professionals without having anyone brave enough to come to their defense.

My husband and I watched the movie when it first came out. I LOVED it! My husband did not. His concerns were the same as Elizabeth's (but not as eloquently stated). He wanted the child to go to a more stable home. "In reality" as he stated there would be concerns about the emotional stress of a new baby and additional stress of a divorce and the adoptive parent's finacial stability now there was changed circumstances. He was also very bothered by "Vanessa's" selfishness in her lack of empathy for "Juno" and her discomfort with "Juno's" relationship with "Mark".

I personally loved the portrayal of a strong and smart birthmother. I loved that they showed how painful it was for her after the delivery without saying a word. But I especially wish that every birthmother had the support system Juno had. I LOVE the stepmother's response to the sonogram technician!!!! I think maybe I saw a bit of myself in "Vanessa" detattachment (which my husband swears I never demonstrated). It is a very hard process to attatch to an unborn child and mother knowing you may get your heart broken again (after surviving loss of infertility and in our case 2 miscarriages). However, I am an eternal optimist and think by "Vanessa" placing "Juno's" note in the space reserved for the "family picture" she would keep in touch with Juno and did feel more love for her than she demonstrated (if there was a sequel)! :) If anything I am just glad it may get more people talking about open adoption and help demystify the whole process.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I appreciate everyone's response, and I really resonated with Elizabeth's description of the characters in terms of their "trueness to life." And overall- I loved this movie and will be purchasing it and I am sure will ultimately show clips in my class, because I do believe that is captures some of the true essence. I think that two of the things that hit me about this movie that I struggle with are:

1. It strengthens the stereotype of birthparents as being teen-agers. I am not sure why this always bothers me so much. We get asked all the time "how old was your birthmom?" And for some reason that question always really bothers me, becasue the assumption that comes along with it is that she is a teen-ager. There is always an "air" that comes with that assumption, which I can not quite put my finger on- and that bothers me as well. I saw a movie on lifetime the other day with Stockard Channing, can't remember the name, that portrayed the mother as a married mother of four. I wish that I had taped it because I felt like it brilliantly dispelled some of the stereotypes (while of course reinforcing others). I suppose you can't ask for everything.

2. The ending with Juno and Bleaker. Now I have never worked with teen-age birthparents, so I cannot necessarily say that this was not true to life. And I agree with Elizabeth that they did capture Bleaker's role well throughout- but I hated the ending scene. Perhaps I was hoping for a scene where Juno was at Vanessa's house visitng the baby (my own version of a happy ending). I am not sure, but this part bothered me too.

I have to say that the most frustrating scene for me to watch in the movie, not because it was not true to life because I am sure that it is- was the scene where Juno and her father come to the house for the first time. I was really upset when Vanessa went upstairs and broke up the guitar jam session to continue to go over the paperwork. I was also livid when she asked Juno how sure she was that she would place and continued to look toward her for reassurances. I wish that we had moments like the guitar scene with our birthmother, so it was difficult to see a rejection of this very special moment.

For some reason, another one of my favorite scenes was Juno at the hospital with her dad, when he told her that she would be there again on her terms. Once again, I am not sure what I thought about this statement overall- and many other statements that he made throughout the movie (the therapist part of me screams "Don't try to fix it for her, just be witness and support in her pain). However, for this father this was one of the most loving things that he could do. And although I cringed at some of the comments that he made to her, ultimately his love and support shined through.

Of course, I also LOVED the ultrasound scene! What is it about me that I like to see people have their stupid comments shoved back in their faces sometimes :blink::blink::blink:

The character that I struggled with the most was Vanessa. I thought they did a good job of exploring all of her complexities- and I think that it is to the writers credit that I struggled with her so much. At first, I could not stand her. However, there was a moment when Juno was talking about how terrible it was to be pregnant and made the comment that Vanessa was lucky that she wasn't pregnant. If you watched, you could see the flinch on Vanessa's face. This is when I really connected with her. I hate it when people make this comment. I remember before Riley was born, but we were matched, we went to my one of my brother's houses for a party and another one of my brothers was there. My sister-in-law was pregnant with her second child. One of my brothers sat down next to me to talk about the possible upcoming placement and he talked about how uncomfortable pregnancy was, etc. etc. etc. He then went on to say, "you are so lucky you don't have to be pregnant." I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach. When I hear people say stupid things like that, I still wonder if anyone thinks before they talk. I think what bothers me more is that even when someone seems to realize that what they said was enormously stupid, they usually don't apologize. Hey, I'm really sorry I said that, it wasn't very sensitive. Anyhow, I digress. This moment gave me a connection with Vanessa- which I believe is the sign of a good movie. Knowing that everyone has a story, and that many times even our "bad behavior" can be understood in terms of its context.

Anyhow, just my thoughts. I wish that this would come out on video before April- that is when my class is dealing with Foster Care and Adoption.

Bobbi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3) I thought Juno's parents were perfectly cast.

I just have to throw in that i think that JK Simmons (who played Juno's father) seems to be perfectly cast in every role he does. From this role to his role as Garth Pancake in THE LADYKILLERS or J Jonah Jameson in the SPIDERMAN movies or his parts in many many tv shows, I think he is one of the more underrated character actors out there these days.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I really need to see this movie!! Then I'll tell you how I feel. One of the guys I work with says he got a copy of it, so Im going to have to get it from him!! Will Post back on this topic soon!!

I cna't wait!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Loriahn,

You little cheater, you aren't supposed to look at this thread until you see the movie- it has spoilers :lol::lol::lol:

Bobbi

P.S. I am just as bad, sometimes I read the ending of a book before I start the book just because I want to know what happens!!!

Edited by MFTMOM

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Going to see this movie tonight with my sister...didn't read all the posts, but I'll be back later to discuss!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think I need to find a movie pal - my husband is not a movie goer. :( And I want to see this movie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You've got one, chickie! Bob does not "do" movies, either. Hey, think he and David would watch the girls while we go?? HAHAHAHA! (If so, let's secretly set up a video camera so we can get a laugh AFTER the movie!!!) :lol: I want to see this one, too.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think I need to find a movie pal - my husband is not a movie goer. :( And I want to see this movie.

Why don't y'all leave the kids with the hubbies and do a MAMS Mommy Movie date instead of lunch?

P.S. A fun little hint, for those who wish to hide spoilers: if you hit the Add Reply button, you'll see a "quick access" table to the left of the text field... click "Insert Spoiler" and type the text you wish to hide there, and that way those who don't want to know that in the end

Juno and Paulie stay together but Mark and Vanessa don't

will see only that black stripe unless they drag their cursor over it to see what lies beneath!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All this talk has got me pumped to see the movie!! h

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What a neat trick, I wondered where all that black stuff was coming from!

Bobbi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had to read it!! Even with the spoilers, I don't get any of it still however, probably because I've never even seen a commercial for it. So does that count?? Remember Im "Out of Country, Out of Touch, Out of this World!" :-)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I saw a movie on lifetime the other day with Stockard Channing, can't remember the name, that portrayed the mother as a married mother of four. I wish that I had taped it because I felt like it brilliantly dispelled some of the stereotypes (while of course reinforcing others). I suppose you can't ask for everything.

Bobbi,

I think the name of the movie is "the baby dance". It has one of the saddest endings I have ever seen. But it is a very good movie.

As far as people's assumptions that all birthmothers are single unwed mothers. I am always a little entertained when I tell people my son's birthparents were a married couple. They are always so shocked. I think it is hard for people to imagine the kind of love and sacrifice it took for them to place our little guy with us. But we can dispel myths one person at a time if we must.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I saw a movie on lifetime the other day with Stockard Channing, can't remember the name, that portrayed the mother as a married mother of four. I wish that I had taped it because I felt like it brilliantly dispelled some of the stereotypes (while of course reinforcing others). I suppose you can't ask for everything.

Bobbi,

I think the name of the movie is "the baby dance". It has one of the saddest endings I have ever seen. But it is a very good movie.

As far as people's assumptions that all birthmothers are single unwed mothers. I am always a little entertained when I tell people my son's birthparents were a married couple. They are always so shocked. I think it is hard for people to imagine the kind of love and sacrifice it took for them to place our little guy with us. But we can dispel myths one person at a time if we must.

That sterotype is one even I struggle with. Having been there.........But I understand there are.......it sometimes is hard for me to believe, maybe because I've never experienced that for myself, but only VERY alone through both the pregnacies, besides the AP's of course!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Loriahn-

I suppose I can cut you some slack for reading up on the spoilers- seeing that you are out of this world fighting for our country and all ;););)

Bobbi

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Bobbi!! But for the record I AM trying to get a copy of it to watch!! (BTW is it a tear jerker?)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a few tears in my eyes, and I don't cry easily.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which probably means I'll bawl my eyes out if I watch it alone!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I hate to tell you this Loriahn, but I had to wait for others to leave the theatre before I did, because I cried a lot. But Chad says that I cry at the drop of a hat these days- so you'll have to let us know.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh, no!! I didn't think Elizabeth would actually put the ending behind that black stripe!! I just wanted to see how it works!! I don't mind spoilers, this movie is definitely on my must-see list.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
That sterotype is one even I struggle with. Having been there.........But I understand there are.......it sometimes is hard for me to believe, maybe because I've never experienced that for myself, but only VERY alone through both the pregnacies, besides the AP's of course!

Loriahn,

I am glad you had the AP's support. I wish every birthmother had a family like in the movie who were supportive and quick witted! (you will agree once you see the infamous sonogram scene) I warn you though tissues are needed! :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×