What/who does ‘Juno’ Represent? This film combines humour with the normally serious topic of Teen pregnancy. The title character, Juno, finds herself pregnant at sixteen and faces the difficult task of deciding what do with the unwanted child. After panicking in the abortion centre she turns to adoption and finds an infertile couple who can take the baby off her hands after birth. Juno represents TEEN PREGNANCY, but what contextual factors have inspired the narrative?...
What has shaped the film? POLITICAL - Teen pregnancy rates are on the governments agenda. HISTORICAL - The post-feminist sexually active teen SOCIAL - Ideologies that pregnant teens are slutty and provocative towards men. (Juno subverts these ideologies) ECONOMIC - Low budget, independent institution therefore cheap actors were used (weren’t household names at the time).
Institution MANDATE PICTURES - a small Hollywood production company formed only two years before the release of this film. Not well known. Harder to convince audience to go and see it. JASON REITMAN – A Canadian producer. Juno was the second film he produced. His first film Thank you for smoking was very successful receiving 9 wins and 17 nominations. Expectations were high on release of Juno.
Theories applied to Juno Tessa Perkins theory of complex and simple stereotypes… Juno is both a STEREOTYPE and COUNTERTYPE : STEREOTYPE: Pregnant teen. However she doesn’t fit all of the ideologies associated with this stereotype and for this reason she is also a.. COUNTERTYPE: She is, intelligent and quirky and hangs about with on and off boyfriend Paulie Bleeker who is quite nerdy and shy. Juno's qualities would not normally be associated with a pregnant teenager. The producers have chosen to remove the negative ideologies from the character and are therefore representing the usually negative stereotype in a positive light.
The editing and production style of Juno can be applied to Constantain Stanislavasky’s theory of NATURALISM .
You could argue that the dialogue and NVC in Juno is quite naturalistic:
Silences reflect awkward moments Juno encounters between and parents and boyfriend.
The opening scene, in which the baby is consummated, is made up of mostly NVC, which captures the intimacy of the moment.
Media Language CLOTHING – Junos clothing is unusual such as the skirt/trouser combo and she often wear lots of layers. This could help the audience to understand Juno is ashamed of being pregnant and this is her attempt at hiding the fact. DIALOGUE – The way in which the characters converse is quirky. Lines such as ‘That ain't no Etch A Sketch. This is one doodle that can't be undid, Homeskillet.’ provide humour when dealing with tricky issues.
Narrative and Genre ENIGMA CODES – The opening line is ‘It all started with a chair’, the audience are left wanting an explanation to the strange statement. NON LINEAR NARRATIVE – The film is non-linear because the opening scene is a voice over in which Juno explains how she got herself into the situation, as though she is reflecting on the past. THE SEASON FORESHADOWS THE NARRATIVE - Seasons are used to split the film into 4 chapters, and the changing moods of the characters can be reflected by this. For example the film finishes with summer when the baby is born and a new equilibrium is formed, summer is often associated with happiness. BINARY OPPOSITIONS – Pregnant (Juno)/Not pregnant (best friend) – difference in responsibilities Autumn/Spring – shift in mood GENRE – Juno is predominantly a comedy with elements of drama and romance. It’s therefore a hybrid genre.
Audience Juno would target the youth market (16-25 year olds) but would possibly appeal to older audiences as well because of its wit and unusual script. USES AND GRATS THEORY – ENTERTAINMENT – humour PERSONAL IDENTITY – youth, high school culture, relationships, pregnancy SOCIAL INTERACTION – discuss with peers and quote lines from the film LEARNING – not the ideal situation for a teen
Criticisms of the representation Is the film putting the issue of teen pregnancy into too much of a positive light? Some could argue that it may have a negative effect on audiences if they take the content too literally and they may forget the difficulties that come with being pregnant at an early age.