Tuesday, January 08, 2008

the politics of Juno

Instead of watching the BCS Championship Game (is there more of a letdown in major sports than this event, over 30 days after play ends and on a random Monday night?) or catching up on last minute election coverage of NH (no, I am not making pundit-like predictions for this state, even if I have my ideas), Kristi and I went to see one of the better little movies of the year, Juno (it is amusing that 2 of the best films of the year deal with the subject of unplanned pregnancy in irreverent, yet respectful manners).

Now, one can complain that it is a bit too precious at times, or that it is a teenage girl Knocked Up. You can complain that it is not really an Indie Flick (Fox Searchlight made it and the director's dad is a big Hollywood director) or it is a bit contrived (aren't all films not called Once a bit contrived?). However, the major complaint I have seen recently from my more Liberal brethren is a bit ridiculous.

The complain of Ellen Goodman and others is that there is a trend in films this year (and, according to her it is not a good one) towards babies making a family instead of women making the "right" choice for abortion. In Bella, Waitress, Knocked Up and Juno a conscious choice is made to have a pregnancy go full term and not have an abortion (smamortion in the case of Knocked Up). Those that complain show their true colors, which not "pro CHOICE."

3 observations...

1) Each movie would suck if the choice had been for abortion (especially since 2 were comedies). Each movie would have also been 30 minutes also. If it is a horror film and the girl does not go to the dark basement, it is no longer a horror film. The choice changes the dynamic and we have no movie. If Steve Carrel has sex at the beginning of 40 Year Old Virgin, we have a different film with nothing to make it endearing and give it a potential for conclusion. Each complainer should see this simple reality of plot development.

2) While many people are pro choice in their politics, they are pro life with their lifestyle. We can see this from the filmmakers and directors of these films. Sure, they may support abortion rights as a matter of political conviction, but they do not want that to be the decision made by themselves, their friends, their family or their characters in a film. This should give liberals and conservatives something to chew on as they continue to fight on this issue.

3) Major "Liberal" candidates have changed their tune on abortion. Following the lead of Bill Clinton, the idea is that abortion be safe, legal and rare. It is understood by Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton and others that this is a hard decision that should be taken seriously. It is never a decision anyone wants someone they love to have to make.

Each of these films, especially Juno, lives in this reality. Abortion is legal in the films and it is on the table, yet each character wants to have the child. Why should anyone, complain about the politics of these movies?


james said...

Well written my friend. Nicely done.

Mike Murrow said...


i am glad you wrote this. where are the culture critics on this point? they all stop at the criticism (that they share) that the movies are unrealistic because abortion isn't discussed more in the films.

which pisses me off as much as listening to my prudish friends who bash on knocked up and 40 year old for being crude while failing to see the "family values" deeply embeded in the films.

you hit it on the head. the critics aren't for choice, they are for abortion. they have lost their way just as the pro-life anti-sex croud has.

nice post my friend.