Thursday, 21 February 2008

Juno: love in a broken world

So it seems like everyone is going to see Juno, including me!

I really enjoyed the film. As others have noted, the screen-play is really well written. I loved some of the witty one liners (especially early in the film) and the characterisation was good too.

I guess that the film is really all about love. Like many more 'postmodern' films of late, though, Juno doesn't idealise the world in which we live. Perhaps the most poignant part of the film is where the lead character, Juno, asks her father about true love. His answer is this: "In my opinion, the best thing you can do is to find a person who loves you for exactly who you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person will still think that the sun shines out your ass. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with." And yet this is juxtaposed alongside a tinge of sadness: Juno's father freely admits that he's made mistakes in the past, and is himself in his second marriage. Elsewhere in the film, we see portrayals of divorce and separation - and yet still glimmers of hope through love.

Of course, all this is true. It's true that we do live in a broken world, but as people still retaining something of God's image, we still have the capacity to love and to be loved, despite the fact that we all are hurt by and hurt others.

But my major gripe with the film is still the idea that love conquers all. As Juno gives away her baby, as another couple separate, as one woman starts a life of single motherhood, everything is still presented with a rosy glow. It's true that love is still a massive part of our existence, but so is pain caused by broken relationships. When we experience something short of what Juno's father speaks of (and inevitably we do), it really hurts. And that's something that is glossed over by what is an otherwise excellent film.


thebluefish said...

Yeah, I am everyone!

I agree the ending was a bit dissatisfactory. I was pondering how else it could have been done...

peterdray said...

Everyone that counts :)

Dave K said...

As another part of 'everyone' I'm I'm a bit more positive about the film. I really loved it.

I don't think that it depicts love conquering all in such a way that the slate is wiped clean. The note from Juno to Vanessa ('if you're still in, I'm still in') written on crumpled a laundry receipt and which Vanessa frames in the nursery shows that the past pain is not glossed over but ever-present. As you say Juno's child will still grow up not knowing his/her (I can't remember) mother and in a single parent family.

To get through life, and love, requires real grit and gumption. Juno has it which is what distinguishes her from Mark who can't grow up. It also requires love. But although love really does cover a multitude of sins the sins are not forgotten, the pain lingers, and the future is uncertain for the couple in love singing on the front step.

Maybe I'm just too much of a romantic!

peterdray said...

Dave K - you may be right. Perhaps I'm being too harsh. I guess I found the Vanessa-Mark split too clinical (where both experienced forms of 'freedom'), as well as the scene where Vanessa picks up the newborn baby. However, it's also true that the viewer's opinion of Vanessa changes as the film goes on... perhaps I'm being too harsh.

I also think that the closing scene implied that Juno and Paul had their own house (as Bren at last has a dog!) - an overly romanticised view of two teenagers setting out together?

A great film overall anyway, and far more thought-provoking than many :)

Dave K said...

I also think that the closing scene implied that Juno and Paul had their own house (as Bren at last has a dog!) - an overly romanticised view of two teenagers setting out together?

Ooo I didn't spot that!

Perhaps I was too soft!