Sunday, December 30, 2007

Juno: A Story of Dreams and Loss (Plus Jokes!)

Before we get started, I have a confession to make. Those of you following the blog know that I am absolutely strapped-for-cash. (It's the last semester of my graduate program and the savings are... run out.)

Thus, I should be following all prudent financial advice and trimming the fat from my budget; no new clothes, no dinners out, no lattes, and no films.

The first three are fine. I've got enough clothes for now, I like cooking, and I've never cared for lattes.

But I have one vice, and that is cinema. Movie-theater cinema. I like seeing things on gigantic screens.

If it makes me seem any more financially prudent, I have "carbon-offset" my cinema habit by cutting back in other areas. (Thank goodness I learned how to use a lota in India.)

But anyway. Now that you know I have in fact been to the movies twice in the past two weeks (the last one was Sweeney Todd), on to the review!

Manish's review was a little ambivalent, as were most of the online ones I read, which all seemed to focus on the oddity of a sixteen-year-old referencing Soupy Sales. (Note to reviewers: It's not that weird. When I was sixteen I was referencing Steve and Eydie and Robot Carnival.)

But what struck me the most about this film was the way each of the characters dealt with the way life tends to threaten individual dreams. Nearly all of the primary characters in Juno have a secret dream; Bren wants a dog, Mark wants to be a rock star, Vanessa wants to be a mother.

The dreams of the adolescent characters are less well-defined (Paulie wants... to get the band back together?), which I thought was strange until I realized that these characters are still too young to need to cling to dreams. Juno, in a very savvy example of understanding that she has her whole life ahead of her, calculates that a pregnancy is only a 40-week physical inconvenience. Once it's done, she can go back to conquering the world in the way that only a sixteen-year-old can.

Then something happens to one of the adult characters' dreams (I won't give it away), and Juno's idealistic world begins to crack a little. We see her do her best to patch up the lives of the people around her, in the hope that things can still turn out well.

The heartbreak comes at the very end, when we find out what Juno's dream was, and the way in which she realizes it may never come true.

And so -- in a theater full of teenagers laughing at "the funniest movie since Superbad," I was the one sitting with the tissues.

Still, I think you should go. It's a good film. And you learn who Soupy Sales is, which I never knew before.

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