This English course is “An Introduction To Film”, and I have chosen the film “Juno” to write about for this essay assignment.  I have attached the essay in a word document below.RUNNING HEAD: Juno
Analyzing a Modern Classic
English 225 Introduction to Film
May 30,2016
September 2011
Juno: Analyzing a Modern Classic
The motion picture Juno, directed by Jason Reitman, explores many fundamentals of film
and has a unique approach to telling a rather somber tale. The story of Juno is not an uncommon
one and is seen in real life all over the country. However, the comedic and sarcastic approach to
the serious subject of teen pregnancy makes the film one of a kind. Hilarious yet informative,
Juno is a smorgasbord of great film qualities. Elements of film are analyzed based on the context
and technical aspects of the film and critiqued and praised accordingly. Juno has been praised by
many and is considered a classic of my generation and reflects not just society and a great story
and director, but great film altogether.
In the film Juno, the story was uniquely put together. The story was told through the eyes
of the main character Juno, played by Ellen page. She is 16 and finds out she is pregnant by her
high school boyfriend Paulie Bleeker, played by Michael Cera. The story takes place in a small
suburban community where a majority of the residents are white and middle class. The setting
one would find to be someone symbolic and gave the story the feel like it could happen to any of
us anywhere. That not all teen pregnancy effects minority, low income, and the uneducated. The
plot takes place in chronological order, as we as the audience go along with Juno on this journey
throughout her pregnancy and her life as a normal high school student. The story of Juno is not a
rare one and is very relatable, however the unique way it unfolds and uses sarcasm and satire
throughout the film is what makes it one of kind.
There are several conflicts involved in this film and are resolved in unexpected ways.
First, the most obvious is that Juno is faced with the internal struggle of being pregnant at 16
years old and having to make the huge decision of keeping the baby, aborting it, or putting it up
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for adoption. She eventually chooses adoption after exploring all the other options and realizing
quickly how she was not fit for either of the other choices. Second, there is an external conflict
between her and the adoptive father, Mark (Jason Bateman), who confesses to Juno that he is
going to leave his wife Vanessa (Jennifer Gardner). Juno is caught in the middle of their
marriage; however, she still manages to give Vanessa, the mom, her baby, despite her husband’s
awful decision to leave her at the climax of the film. Last, Juno is faced with the external conflict
of having to deal with high school and her on and off father of the baby, Paulie Bleeker. Between
the prom, high school, and other normal teenage substance, she has to deal with the persecution
and judgment of being a pregnant teenager, as well as having to work on a relationship with the
father. Along the way their relationship hits some bumps in the road, but in the end they stay
together. The conflicts all become resolved; nonetheless the story manages to do this with an
exceptional approach. Although there is a happy ending it is the road to it that make story of
Juno so great.
There are several uses of symbols, metaphors, and especially satire that are seen
throughout the film. One prominent reoccurring metaphor is her transition from being a regular
teen into an adult. One simple example is how she is constantly drinking Sunny delight; however
she also has a wooden pipe she keeps in her mouth. Both of which are representing the sides of
the spectrum and dilemma she is caught in between adolescence and adulthood. This matter is
also explored through symbols. For example, her hamburger phone in which uses to call about an
abortion and break the new to her best friend. The colors of many of the characters also changes
through the film. As Juno is somewhat dark and edgy, and not seen as innocent throughout the
film, her peers are seen in bright colors, such as gold, that her boyfriend is seen wearing
throughout. Last, satire is used immensely in this film along with irony. A specific example is
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her finding her future adoptive parents of her child in a Penny Saver, or her using a phone book
and a hamburger phone to call about a “hasty abortion”. The repetitive use of humor and satire is
what make this film one of kind and the story may be heard of a thousand times, but the way it is
told is unique in its own.
The film Juno has a way of reaching out to audiences and finding similarities between us
and the characters and the theme used. The fact that the film takes places in a town that anyone
could live and relate to makes it seem more realistic, and therefore more captivating. The
characters of the film are not much more unusual than regular people. Juno may be a bit strange,
but all teenagers are to some extent. We start to root for Juno and learn to love her for her
ridiculous sarcasm and cynical personality. By the end we are fascinated by her braveness,
strength and faith in Vanessa. Last, the universal truths are made obvious through many
characteristics as everyone can relate to Juno’s character in the film. The fear of growing up and
having to go through the transition into adulthood and making mature decisions is something all
of us must live through and face at some point. Thus making the theme of the film very relatable
to everyone and creating a relationship between the audience, the characters and the overall
The actors casted in the film were brilliant and fit the parts like a perfect puzzle piece.
First, Ellen page, which plays Juno, is perfect for the look the director was going for. She has not
been seen in many other films; therefore the audience will recognize her as Juno as opposed to
someone else she has played. In addition, the father of the baby, Michael Cera, is the perfect boy
to play the timid and nervous Bleeker. He is a personality actor, and plays a similar role in all his
parts. The nerdy and uninteresting high school kid who tries too hard and cares too much, much
like the role he plays in the film Superbad. Last, Jennifer Gardner, who is a perfect wild card
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actor, plays Vanessa, the sweet and caring woman longing to be the mother of Juno’s baby. Her
roles range drastically in film and television. Yet somehow the hardcore fighter of Alias manages
to pull of such a lovable personality in this film. Method acting seems to be the most widely used
in here. The way Jennifer Gardner brings out her motherly traits, as well as Ellen page bringing
out her sarcastic teen side, makes the film seem more real and captures the audience. The actors
in the film could not have been casted better and they do a wonderful job at portraying the
director’s message.
The sound used in Juno was mostly dialogue and played a part in the films dynamic. The
film is all Juno’s dialogue, as it is told from her point of view. According to the text, dialogue is
used to advance the plot and explain relationships and characters (Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011).
In this film there is no short of that. One specific example is when Juno explains all the
characters involved in the story. The film is narrated by Juno in first person as she explains to the
audience Paulie, the father of her baby and his orange tic tac obsession, her family and their
position in the story, and the adopting parents, Mark and Vanessa being so perfect in their
advertisement. Due to the use of dialogue in the movie, in just a few seconds the audience
understands Juno and her personality to a much broader extent than if we would have to try and
figure out her corky personality on our own.
Music is also used in a variety of ways and had a way of contributing to the story and
style of the film. Instead of using music that would fit the situation of being serious and awkward
the sound director decides to use up beat and happy music to once again contribute to the ironic
style of the story. For example, Right after she tells Bleeker that she is pregnant with her child
there is an upbeat, slow tempo score playing as the scene transitions to her first day of high
school pregnant. Music does not only help the film move along and help capture the audience
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more; it is used in this film as part of the plot. When Juno first meet the new adoptive parents,
her and Mark realize they both have a passion for music. In turn, this becomes a key factor in the
development of the story as it leads them to become close, and at the climax music is used to
reveal Mark’s confession that he is leaving his wife. This was a unique way to incorporate the
soundtrack into the film. It was not just songs playing for the enhancement of the viewing
pleasure, but also for the plot.
The cinematography in the film Juno was very subtle compared to other movies with a
similar plot. Because the director wanted to keep a light hearted feel to the movie a lot of
brighter colors were used. There were many instances of saturated colors, a lot of oranges, gold,
and yellows when expressing some of the scenes. For example, the home of Mark and Vanessa is
always seen very brightly lit and in sort of a yellowish tint, giving it a warm appeal and making
the house seem open and larger. Nonetheless, Juno is always seen in dark colors, with low key
lighting. Most of the scenes with Juno all are done with her being the main focal point of the
camera, as she is the one telling the story. This implying that the camera takes a more subjective
point of view, as the director wants the audience to experience and empathize with Juno. In
addition, the focal length of lens appears to be normal, as to not disturb the size of Juno, as the
size of her pertains tremendously to the story of the movie. The Cinematography of the film
subtlety gave us warm feelings as the director did not want the audience to look at the film from
a sympathetic viewpoint, but a more endearing and heartfelt stand.
The editing in Juno seemed very traditional in modern film although there are some parts
that enhanced the film. The scenes are arranged in chronologically order, in order to build up to
the climax of the plot, Juno giving birth. With the exception of several flashbacks that gave the
film a bit more character, for example, when Juno is taking her pregnancy test she reflects back
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to the moment she got pregnant with Bleeker. Telling us a little more about her and the position
she is. The editing is continuity, where the cutting to different camera positions while
maintaining the illusion that everything is happening in a continuous time and space
(Goodykoontz & Jacobs, 2011). There was one seen that evidence of the continuity is caught.
Juno pulls over to cry next train tracks. The train goes right by her full of box cars when seen
from outside Juno’s vehicle, however when the camera switches to be from inside her vehicle
looking out behind it is not there. Last, the majority of the shots, especially of Juno, are done in
medium length. Because there is so much dialogue going on in the film, there is an abundance of
people’s faces and mainly master shots at the beginning or end of the scenes.
The director of Juno is Jason Reitman and is well known for his unique style and broad
arrange of films. The director likes to use humor, sarcasm and satire in many of the films he
creates, and Juno is no different. Much like his other films such as Thank You for Smoking, these
elements are used to make light of a more serious underlying message the director is trying to
project. For instance, in Juno it is the issue of teen pregnancy, although very severe and not
funny, Reitman is able to use humor along with drama to get the audience’s attention. The
director does not use technology and special effects to make his films better. He enjoys the use of
dialogue and irony to tell the story. The point of view he has in Juno is well known and is much
like previous films, in that he wants to educate audiences through the use of film. He is able to
make the audience aware of the teen pregnancy epidemic in middle class suburbia and not just in
the ghetto.
The motion picture Juno is very unique and does not quite conform to one particular
drama. The movie has the plot of a Drama, but the style of a comedy. According to the text’s
options of genre I would define Juno as a romantic comedy. There is a relationship that blossoms
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between Juno and Bleeker and in the end after this huge event they both endured; they end up
happily ever after. Most people would not view Juno in this sense, because her relationship to the
father of her baby, Bleeker, takes a back seat to the rest of the chaos that takes place in the film.
Although there is some conflict between her and Bleeker, it is not the main story line. Her
getting pregnant and being forced to grow up is the number one conflict in the story.
The movie Juno has a brilliantly way of reflecting and relating to the society of today and
struggles many teens face. The story of Juno is not an unusual one, many teenage girls are faced
with unexpected pregnancy and this movie was a way of bringing it to the door step of small
town, middle class America. “Teen movies set in upper-middle-class suburbia, like 10 Things I
Hate About You, blithely dismiss pregnancy as something that only happens to “fifteen-year-old
crack whores” (Smith, 2007). Many middle class Americans choose not to face the fact that
many teens are pregnant in their neighborhood, this film brings the fight to the forefront by
forcing audiences to become aware of the wave. Whether or not it was the director’s intent to do
so, Juno can be used as a tool for educating youth about teen pregnancy. The scene where she
goes for the abortion, and realizes that she does not want to go through with it had an impact on
the audience. The film brought up the controversial topic of abortion and exposed many people
unwillingly to see the benefits of adoption, to the selfless act of it. Therefore, this film played a
role in reflecting society at this point in time and the youth of today’s American culture.
Juno does make the audience escape into a world and mind of a young, scared teenage
girl faced with a huge life decision. Various elements such as the style of directing, the use of
sounds, and the acting all work together very well in helping the audience join the world of Juno.
We take a journey with her and follow her as her pregnancy progresses. For example, the film
uses seasons as a way to tell the audience exactly how far along she is to keep the audience in the
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loop and not stuck guessing at what point in time events are taking place. The version watched
aired on cable television and some of language was cut, however the film is rated PG-13 and is
suitable for many members of the average audience. Although the film was watched on network
television no noticeable cuts were made from the original version.
The picture Juno has many levels of analysis as the film has several meanings and can be
interpreted in a variety of ways. The referential content of the film consists of the plot of Juno
getting pregnant. The series of events that take place starting with the main character Juno
getting pregnant at 16 and having to decide what to do. As the story unfolds she decides to go
with a closed adoption with Mark and Vanessa. All leading up to the climax of her giving birth
and giving the baby to Vanessa, who is now a single mother. The description of what takes place
in the film is a simple one; it is the meaning and intent of the underlying themes that give
audiences such pleasure in the film.
There is deeper meaning in the movie Juno and is explored and analyzed on explicit and
implicit levels. First, explicitly Juno is about a girl who is faced with a problem that many young
women today deal with. She decides to explore the options that are available and ultimately
decides against an abortion and for adoption. This is stated in the film and is the prominent
theme that is being repeated throughout it. Implicitly, is that the situation is hard, rough, and not
at all a fun one. Life should be embraced with every hurdle that you have to jump over. Do not
take life to seriously and follow your heart when making some life choices.
Juno can be referred to as a unique and whole piece of symbolic nature and may be
viewed by many with a contextual approach. Years from now when the film is being reviewed it
will be looked at as a time piece. It can be looked at as something that reflects this era and how
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our culture was and viewed life at this point in time. This is, after all, how many great films are
referred to. Teen pregnancy is a huge dilemma and the numbers in white, middle class youths are
becoming a very large portion of those statistics. Juno takes this problem and faces it head on
and exposes many of us to something we otherwise would not have been.
In conclusion, the movie Juno was analyzed based on the various elements and levels of
pertaining to film. The analysis furthered my already praising opinion of the film and forced me
to look deeper into the meaning and overall concepts of the film. The unique characteristics of
the film are what make it one of a kind to audiences and beloved by many. Juno has been praised
by many and is considered a classic of my generation and reflects not just society and a great
story and director, but great film altogether.
September 2011
Goodykoontz, B., & Jacobs, C. (2011). Film: From Watching to Seeing. San Diego: Bridgepoint Education.
Smith, C. (2007). Pictures of Girlhood: Modern Female Adolescene on Film. Film and History , p. 97.
September 2011

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