Friday, January 18, 2008

Juno

"I have come not just to live, but to give life - life to the fullest extent and with great abundance." (John 10:10)

Juno MacGruff (Ellen Page) is an offbeat, quirky young woman living a very grown-up life as a pregnant teenager in Juno, the Oscar-nominated movie titled after her.

What's even more quirky is that this is actually a heart-warming comedy that revolves around a very serious moral issue (teenage pregnancy). But that is why this movie succeeds so well. No matter how it's said, Juno loudly proclaims: choose life, choose love, and choose one another.

Consider one crucial scene in the journey of young Juno. Having abruptly decided to have an abortion, she wanders over to the clinic in town and runs into a friend of hers keeping vigil for life. Once this friend shouts to her, as she heads into the clinic doors, that the baby inside her "has fingernails," a new light dawns on Juno. In a few moments, she runs out the door, committed to having the baby no matter the consequences.

While teenage pregnancy is no laughing matter, it is wonderful to see this girl make the right choice for life. She chooses adoption as the course of action she needs to take, since she nor her family can afford to raise a child. This is a hard choice, and as the pregnancy continues, it gets even harder; but young Juno truly grows up by making them.

Another scene was incredibly touching: near the end of her term, she has a heart-to-heart with her father Mac (J.K. Simmons) about life and love. This is a dad who might disagree with what Juno has done (that is, getting pregnant, etc.), but loves his daughter unconditionally. In that heart-to-heart, the dad tells her what true love is all about. He tells her it's not a fairy tale, but it's honest-to-goodness hard work and that we love each other no matter what the odds.

This is an incredible message. When we talk about pro-life, often it comes down to abortion or anti-abortion. But Jesus did not just come just to live a life, but "so that you might have life - life to the fullest extent and with great abundance" (John 10:10). Life in abundance doesn't just mean not killing; life in abundance means that we must take care of life - in relationships, in mutality, in support for one another, in compassion and forgiveness for one another, and helping each other live life even when times are hard and things get really rough.

This movie shows us how that is possible. Because this film didn't end with Juno's decision not to have an abortion, it shows us that being pro-life means everything that happens from that moment onward too. Being pro-life means loving our families and supporting them (as her dad showed us). Being pro-life means loving another person no matter what they look like, how they treat us, or no matter what mistakes they may or we may have made (as her boyfriend Paulie Bleeker, played by Michael Cera, showed us). Being pro-life means being patient with each other and being a friend no matter what age or life situations might seperate us (as her stepmom Bren, played by Allison Janey, showed us).

So many characters show us what being pro-life is all about, and it wasn't all just about Juno's fantastic decision not to have an abortion. Once again, that is why Juno succeeds so well.

On another level, Juno is a movie about real people. Juno and Bleeker talk and act like typical teenagers often do, and it isn't always pleasant. Mac and Bren talk and act like many typical parents do, and it's not always fun to see (especially if you're a teenager). But they also take it up a notch. Not only is Juno and her parents and her friends real, they give us hope that teens and moms and dads can really, honestly love and support one another.

This world may be very real, but it needs films like Juno to give us something to aim towards in our defense and love of life.

Let it inspire us to support one another, love one another, and defend the life of one another.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Good review! You're right -- "Juno" is pro-life in multiple ways.