Diablo Cody: Juno
Matthew Huh (After Hours Committee) writes about Bijou's upcoming screening of JUNO, featuring artwork by Emily Stagman (After Hours Committee) playing March 7 at 10pm at FilmScene!
For Juno, her whole experience started with a chair. My experience with Juno started with a text message. High school is where I began to take film more seriously, and I began looking for unique and different films to watch.
In June 2016, my friend texted me saying, “Hey, you should check out this movie Juno. I think you’d really like it.” After finding a copy, I watched it, and I loved it. This is interesting because when I heard it was about a pregnant teenage girl, I was like, “I wonder what I’ll think of this.” I think I watched Juno at the most perfect time. I watched it right when I finished my freshman year of high school. As I had experienced what it was like to be in high school, I immediately took notice of how great the writing was. Juno was written by Iowa and Bijou alumnus, Diablo Cody, who ended up winning the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for the film. What I loved so much about the writing is how well the film portrayed the dialogue of high school students. Juno was one of the first high school movies I saw where the kids felt like real kids. Even though they can say some ridiculous, even comical lines, that’s the way high schoolers talk, with either extreme maturity or teenage nonsense.
But when I look back on the film, I realized Juno is the ultimate film about embracing being different. It’s a film about personal choices and embracing that choice. I don’t see the movie as a glorification of teenage pregnancy, but rather what it’s like to be in a difficult situation through the eyes of a misfit. Even before her pregnancy, Juno stands out from other kids. She listens to rock music, watches horror films, and has a hamburger phone. But does she mind being different? No. She accepts who she is as a person and is content. When she does become pregnant, she doesn’t see her status as being a roadblock. Her differences and status among her peers make her accept who she is because she sees herself as special. Her pregnancy also touches on the theme of choice. When Juno discovers she’s pregnant, she is told that she can either have the child for adoption or abort it. Her choice to have the child ultimately brings her down a path of stress, complication, and isolation. Almost everybody has had to make a choice that involves a difficult situation. And even though this is a story about teenage pregnancy, we can all relate to this. We all must factor in whether what we do is the right choice. Even though that situation has its share of ups and downs, we may get that satisfying conclusion.
Juno is a film that not only perfectly represents a high school experience, but it’s a story that says it’s ok to be different. That’s what stuck with me and made it one of my favorite films.