Sorry Anti-Choicers! "Juno" Is Neither an Anti-Abortion or Pro-Adoption Polemic

I finally managed to see "Juno" in enough time to write this reply to publius's naive suggestion that the movie be a model for anti-choicers, which is to say quit trying to ban abortion and just try to talk people out of it. In other words, be one of the many flavors of pro-choice. Watching the movie itself didn't do much in the way of changing my argument, so I figured I'd keep my actual reactions to it here.

Contrary to the many anti-choice hopes out there, the movie isn't an anti-abortion or pro-adoption polemic; on the contrary, it was a coming-of-age comedy plus teenage romance with teenage pregnancy as the hook. Credit to Marc for noting, as we left, that the character of Juno was an outlandish teenage character in the same style as Max Fischer from "Rushmore", and the pregnancy itself functioned in the same way in this movie as Rushmore did in "Rushmore". Demonizing the abortion clinic to explain why Juno doesn't abortion (and thereby ruin the entire hook of the movie) is one of the sour notes that doesn't work in the movie, but as a friend pointed out to me last night, it was probably the only choice the screenwriter had to get the script approved by Fox Searchlight.

The movie was a reverse of "Rushmore" in a number of ways. "Rushmore" was better in its first half, and "Juno" is much, much better in the second half. The first half of the movie suffered because Juno was too clever by half, and it made it hard to find her compelling. It became clear to me in the second half that Diablo Cody was trying to write about a character who uses her wit and allegiance to being cool as something of an emotional barrier, but she's so enamored of Juno's wit and cool in the first half that she overwrites the character, just a little bit. The script was so good that the lines that are just too much fall like clunkers; it would have been near-perfect if someone had come in with an editing pen and just trimmed up the few lines that are trying too hard.

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