By: Emilia Moberg
*Warning: Spoilers and mentions of abortion*
‘Juno’ is a 2007 film directed by Jason Reitman and written by Diablo Cody. It centers around 16-year-old Juno, played by Elliot Page, as she navigates being pregnant and adoption, on top of normal teen experiences and struggles.
The film begins with Juno taking multiple pregnancy tests, which all come back positive. She decides to get an abortion. However, before entering the abortion clinic, Juno runs into her classmate, Su-Chin, who is protesting against abortion outside the building. The girls discuss a school assignment, and just before Juno enters the clinic, Su-Chin tells her that “her baby probably has fingernails!” Once inside, all Juno can focus on is the other patient’s fingernails. This deters her from getting the abortion and she decides to put the baby up for adoption.
I find this scene really important to understanding the meaning behind the film. Many critics have tried to claim the film as “anti-abortion” because of this scene, however writer Diablo Cody has firmly stated that she is pro-choice and that anti-abortion was not the message she was trying to convey through her writing. I agree with this and believe that Cody was trying to illustrate the juxtaposition of naivety and confidence that comes with young age. Juno did not choose to go through with the pregnancy because she thought abortion was morally wrong. It’s more plausible that she was unnerved by the thought of a baby having fingernails, as a 16-year-old might logically be. Juno felt empowered to get the abortion initially, but changed her mind over a small detail that may or may not be true. The movie does an excellent job of creating scenes that feel stylized, yet realistic to the teen experience, and bring the watcher into the Juno’s life.
Despite critics, the majority of reactions to the film were overwhelmingly positive. It received an Oscar for Best Writing of an Original Screenplay, as well as 89 other film awards and 100 nominations. ‘Juno’ timelessly captures the essence of being a teenager and the complexities that come with it.