Jump to content

Recommended Posts

The "fingernails" bit was just cool, but not otherwise relevant. She would have backed out even if her lone protestor friend wasn't there.

I disagree, and don't see how you can claim to parse it out in this way.

When Juno herself attempts to explain her own feelings about it to her friend, it all comes out in a jumble, from the icky receptionist to the fingernails. The factors are all there in a heap, and if Juno can't explain exactly why she walked away, how can you?

Besides, Juno's heightened awareness of fingernails is the last thing we see before she runs out of the clinic (and FWIW the screenplay has her WALKING away, but in the film she's RUNNING). It seems staged to suggest that at the very least the fingernails pushed her over the edge, as it were.

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 148
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

You could equally say that had the receptionist been the ONLY speed bump, she would have gone through with it.

The pro-life demonstrator and the fingernails was a factor. That's all I'm saying.

(Incidentally, as I pointed out in my review, Juno's "intrusive thoughts" imagining fingernails was foreshadowed by her comments about having "intrusive thoughts" all the time in connection with unseen body parts.)

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Link to post
Share on other sites

:spoilers:

The whole film is full of moments in which things don't become real to a person until they become concrete details. I think this is one of the film's most effective and powerful strengths.

For Juno, the idea of abortion is perfectly plausible until... da-da-da-DUMMMM!... she realizes it has fingernails. It suddenly becomes real to her, a person of flesh and blood and sharp edges. This changes her perspective.

For Vanessa, the baby is a frightening possibility, one she can hardly bear to let herself imagine. But then comes that moment in the shopping mall... a touch, a physical sensation. Suddenly, Vanessa lights up like a Christmas tree.

And let's face it, Juno does have something like a schoolgirl crush on Mark. But when she sees the boxes, and he explains what they're for... the reality of the situation comes crashing down on her. And thinking back, Mark became real to Vanessa the moment she saw the guitars.

And this is a testament to what makes characters real as well. What makes Bleeker real to us? Tic tacs.

Edited by Jeffrey Overstreet

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

The fingernails are significant, gentlemen, because Juno doesn't have any. So what she realizes is that there is potential in that unborn life, that the child may turn out to be more than the sum of Bleeker's and Juno's junk. Given that she's desperately trying to find affirmation in the notion that two people can truly love each other, permanently, the baby inside becomes symbolic of the hope she wants to have, symbolic of the fulfillment of the things she lacks.

So the fingernails are far more significant to Juno than they are to her protesting school chum. For the latter, they're just a fact in an argument, something she's learned to trot out as polemic.

There's only a single closeup of Juno's hands in the film, and it comes toward the end. You can see that Juno's nails are chewed to the quick. If you go back and watch closely in the rest of the scenes, you'll see that Juno's nails are ALWAYS in that state -- it's just that Reitman doesn't highlight that detail until the end of the story.

Greg Wright

Managing Editor, Past the Popcorn

Consulting Editor, Hollywood Jesus

Leader of the Uruk-Howdy, Orcs of the West

Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks, Greg. You've convinced me to see it again on DVD.

In an interstellar burst, I am back to save the Universe.

Filmsweep by Persona. 2013 Film Journal. IlPersona.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's been a long time since I saw the film, but I think fingernails keep coming up in various ways through the film. All I have in my notes about them is "Nails *"; they meant something as I was watching, but it's slipped away now.

A foreign movie can't be stupid.

-from the film
Armin

Link to post
Share on other sites

There are probably spoilers herein:

Nice comments, ladies and gentlemen. They helped me put into words many of my thoughts after seeing the film the other night.

I approached the film from the context of what little I'd read and heard: "Juno is an insightfully realistic portrayal of a special 16-year old". And I think this is (more or less) what the film wants to be, along with being hip and different.

In the end, the film worked for me, but barely and not on its own terms. I simply couldn't accept Juno as a real, living 16-year-old..not with her dialogue. She was enjoyable, easy to cheer for, easy to be emotionally effected by, but not particularly believable. As other have said, the first half-hour was probably the most difficult part. Once I got past that and accepted Juno as larger-than-life, I loosened up and was able to laugh at her. More importantly, the story of the adoptive couple started to develop, and I think these characters were much more believable, if not quite as enjoyable.

I appreciated the implicit censure of the husband's behavior and state of selfishness. It would have been too easy to allow him to be the guy from Knocked Up.

Edited by Jeff Kolb

So you ladies and you gentlemen, pull your bloomers on...

-Joe Henry

Link to post
Share on other sites
FWIW, as of this weekend, Juno has $100.2 million in the till, and has thus crossed that all-important century mark. Its week-to-week grosses actually went UP a few percentage points this week, despite playing in slightly LESS theatres -- the power of being nominated for four of the top Oscars, perhaps?

Also doesn't hurt in the least that Oprah was really propping up the movie as well ...

Link to post
Share on other sites

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

darn it, just lost my comment in a freak typing accident!

Anyway, the jist was that

a - I think both Juno's "act" at the first meeting with Mark and whatsit, and her step mum's dressing down the technician are meant to be seen as inappropriate. There's a pause, and possibly even a cut, in the technician scene where the Mum goes back for more and steps over the line. Before hand her comments were only appropriate to the dressing down.

b - I also can't help but wonder if part of the reason Juno is like this is cos of her Step Mum's influence because

c - I think they are closer at the start of the movie than most of you seem to. I know we're so used to movies telling us that step mum's and daughters don't get on and that they hate each other, but there's little of this here. True there's the odd comment about it in an argument, but it's just such an easy line in an argument which all teenagers have from time to time with their parents. But face it, if there wasn't a real closeness between them Juno would have just told her Dad about the pregnancy on his own.

(and FWIW puking in an urn is not mean - who gets to choose where they chuck up? Seriously?)

FWIW I thought the weakest moment in the film was when the baby moved in the mall for the adoptive mother to be, It was the only time that the film resorted to clich

Link to post
Share on other sites

Feedback at CT Movies after this film tops the Critics Choice chart:

posted 02/14/08

Juno at No. 1? I am utterly bewildered! Just walked out of that movie, popped some Tylenol to try to relieve my non-"menstrual migraine," tempted to hit the bottle

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Debra Szemplinski wrote:

: This movie would more accurately be titled "Orcs in Heat."

Oh, man, that was the best laugh I've had in a while.

"Sympathy must precede belligerence. First I must understand the other, as it were, from the inside; then I can critique it from the outside. So many people skip right to the latter." -- Steven D. Greydanus
Now blogging at Patheos.com. I can also still be found at Facebook, Twitter and Flickr. See also my film journal.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Mrs. CrimsonLine and I just came home from watching Juno, and we loved it. Boy, I thought that the Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman characters were the real heart of the film. The gal playing Juno gave a great performance, but I was blown away by Jennifer Garner, and Bateman was outstanding. You start out sympathetic to Bateman's character, and by the end, have totally fallen in love with Garner, who you hated at the beginning. We spent the whole car ride home talking about the relationship between those two characters. You totally know what the last five years of their marriage have been like, without being told at all.

Similarly, I loved J.K. Simons and Allison Janey in their roles, as well as Juno's best girl friend. I can't think of a single weak actor in the bunch, except maybe the sonogram tech - you guys are right, that scene was brutal.

At the end, Juno's stepmom had the wiemeraners (sp?) does that mean that Juno had moved out?

Great movie.

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
Link to post
Share on other sites

The poster describes Juno as a comedy about growing up. But I'd say it's a comedy about realizing the need to grow up. At no point in the movie does Juno, Bleek, her girlfriend, or Jason Bateman's character ever really grow up, and the rest of the characters are already grown up. But it becomes clear throughout the movie that the characters that are grown up have an advantage over the characters that aren't.

The Mrs. and I loved the scene - a small scene - where Juno's stepmom warns her about spending time alone in the house of a married man. I liked the scene when it happened, I loved it when the advice played out. Juno is smart, but she's not wise. This film is a treasure-trove of admonishments to wisdom.

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry so many posts in a row, but I can't stop thinking about this film.

There were a bunch of references to God and Jesus in Juno, but I can't remember any of them being disparaging. I can't decide how much of Sue-Chin was intended to be a character, and how much was intended to be a stereotype (or two) or even if the filmmakers realize that there is a difference in her case.

I also keep thinking about Vanessa's reaction when Juno mentions that she saw their ad in the Pennysaver. She is incredulous. She didn't know Mark was putting their ad there. So, why was Mark putting their ad there, as opposed to a more upscale location? Is Mark deliberately trying to sabotage the adoption process by fishing in a pond of girls more likely to get "cold feet" and keep their baby?

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
Link to post
Share on other sites
Juno is smart, but she's not wise. This film is a treasure-trove of admonishments to wisdom.

Excellent observation. I think the same thing is true of her creator - Brook Busey a.k.a. Diablo Cody. There is a difference between the two and you put some things in focus for me.

THANKS!

Denny

Since 1995 we have authored a commentary on film, cinema in focus. Though we enjoy cinema as an art form, our interests lie not so much in reviewing a film as in beginning a conversation about the social and spiritual values presented. We, therefore, often rate a film higher or lower due to its message rather than its quality of acting or film-making.

Cinema In Focus Website

Free Methodist Church of Santa Barbara Website

Link to post
Share on other sites
It isn't until we see the frame where the "family picture" was supposed to be in the nursery that it begins to dawn on us what this act actually meant -- in red marker (or crayon perhaps) she has said, "I'm in if you're in"

Minor point, perhaps, but I thought she wrote that in lipstick

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Which, of course, doesn't matter a whip, for so many reasons.

Of course she's completely wrong that "if you knew me and if you knew the writer and the director, no one would ever say that," because I assumed that they were all pro-choice anyway and it didn't affect my views of the movie at all -- if anything I'm almost tempted to say I see it as MORE pro-life because it's not intentionally so.

At any rate, this is not one of those situations where the intent and views of the filmmakers necessarily determines the meaning of the film. (In general I give a lot of weight to authorial intent, and I'd love to spend some time sussing out what makes it matter in some situations more than others... no time though.)

“I write because I don’t know what I think until I read what I say.” — Flannery O'Connor

Writing at the new Decent Films | Follow me on Twitter and Facebook

Link to post
Share on other sites

Just a quick stab at it - I don't think that any movie that is genuinely pro-abortion will ever do well at the box office. I haven't seen The Cider House Rules, but my understanding is that it did poorly at the box office, despite critical acclaim. I think the reason is that movies generally require a protagonist who is somewhat sympathetic struggling to overcome some difficult odds, and regardless of how one feels about abortion, keeping the baby will always represent the noble struggle far better than abortion does. Even folks who support abortion rights generally see abortion as a necessary evil, as a tough way out of a bad situation, but not something to celebrate. Cinematically, dramatically, abortion is hard to depict as a victory.

It's kind of funny when movies like Juno and Knocked Up come out, and are hailed as "pro-choice" because the character chooses not to have an abortion. It exposes the silliness of some of these labels. The "pro-choice" position isn't really about choice (as an abstract ideal), it's about a specific choice, the choice to have an abortion. In Star Trek II, Spock chooses to sacrifice his life to save the ship - that doesn't make it a "pro-choice" movie.

Where authorial intent comes in so far as Juno is concerned is that the author intended to make Juno a sympathetic character who rises above adversity to do something noble and difficult, in spite of the fact that she is surrounded by broken marriages and shattered commitments. What the author (and filmmakers) cannot control is the fact that it is virtually impossible to do this in a pro-abortion film.

In case you were wondering, my name is spelled "Denes House," but it's pronounced "Throatwobbler Mangrove."
Link to post
Share on other sites
Which, of course, doesn't matter a whip, for so many reasons.

Agreed. Her quotes remind me of how Reitman flinched at the idea that his film might be seen as an affirmation for pro-lifers. It's like they didn't realize what their story would end up communicating... the story led the artists, as is often the case when a project is truly inspired.

But if they're going to tell a good story, that story has to reflect the truth. And if it reflects the truth, it's going to encourage us to value life rather than cheapen it. I challenge anybody to come up with a Juno-like story that resonates with hope and inspiration, but that involves Juno making the opposite choice.

Where authorial intent comes in so far as Juno is concerned is that the author intended to make Juno a sympathetic character who rises above adversity to do something noble and difficult, in spite of the fact that she is surrounded by broken marriages and shattered commitments. What the author (and filmmakers) cannot control is the fact that it is virtually impossible to do this in a pro-abortion film.

Exactly. Well said.

Nevertheless, I would never brand this film as a "pro-life" film simply because the decision to reject abortion is only one element of this story. The story is more about making commitments and keeping them in all of our relationships, and about stepping up to take responsibility for our actions. So I sympathize with Page and Reitman to some degree -- I too flinch at either side of the abortion debate claiming the movie as campaign material. That cheapens it.

P.S.  I COULD BE WRONG.

 

Takin' 'er easy for all you sinners at lookingcloser.org. Also abiding at Facebook and Twitter.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...