Jesse Miksic at Pop Politics has a post up on Juno. Towards the end of the post:
It may be worth noting that the pregnancy, and all its attendant issues of birth control, hardship, and stigmatization, was peripheral to the real substance of the film. The feminist question isn’t addressed in terms of womanhood and creation. Rather, it’s addressed in the portrayal of females both mobilizing and undermining their gender roles, and especially in its main character, who is the kind of rounded, admirable female that’s still tragically rare in entertainment media.
The character of Juno is represented as “wise beyond her years” yet the adult responsibility of motherhood is beyond her. This central contradiction of the film is extremely grating for people who have lived through the experience of teen pregnancy. The facile relation between Mark and Vanessa (the adoptive parents) clearly points to the infantilization that underpins their adult subjectivities. Mark was not ‘ready’ to be a father, and set up in the film as a non-adult; yet, how is Vanessa’s excitement about motherhood different to Mark’s excitement about those things he is interested in (but which are banished by the ‘adult’ Vanessa)?
Juno is wise precisely because she does not allow herself to be caught up in the infantilizing processes of subjectification that produce the multiplicity-of-a-person as having the restricted capacities of an ‘adult’. She has not yet learnt or chooses not to fulfill social expectations.
Also, as a sidenote, there is a tendency that I have noticed where so-called American indie films seemingly have 90% of the dialogue constructed for advertising catchphrases and intertexts. Was Joss Whedon (Buffy, etc) the first here? Is this how ‘quirky’ is performed in US cinema, through the reappropriation of language from capitalism (or through the verbal slapstick of capitulation to commodified literacies)?