Friday, February 01, 2008

Juno

I've just seen the movie Juno, directed by Jason Reitman and starring Ellen Page and a host of very good character actors in the secondary rolls, including two of my favorites, J.K. Simmons and Allison Janney. The film was marvelous: funny and touching without ever being melodramatic.

It was hard to watch: I've been on too many sides of the issues in this film. I've been 16 and pregnant, although I never considered for a moment giving a baby up for adoption. I had an abortion. My mother had given up her first child for adoption and regretted it awfully. In fact I think it affected her ability to bond with me, and be a loving mother to me--my older brother was born in spring and she was pregnant with me less than 6 months later, not enough time to mourn his loss, arguably not even enough time to completely heal from that pregnancy and birth. She never knew him; he didn't find our family until five days after she died. And I have an aunt who raised one of her daughters' baby, because the daughter was only 16 and not ready for motherhood.

In the movie Juno struggles to feel important to someone other than her dad, and wonders whether couples ever stay in love. She touches only briefly on the pain she feels at her parents' divorce and her mother's emotional and physical abandonment of her. There are parallels to and reflections of my childhood, and I haven't sorted out yet all I think and feel about this movie. But it's very good and worth seeing.

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