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December 29, 2007



Between your post and Susan's, I'm just not going to be able to see it. My heart couldn't take it.


I'm interested to hear your take on it. A blogger friend who is an adoptee really liked it.

Lisa V

I can see why people liked it. It's entertaining. The characters are interesting. It's a happy ending. For a lot of people in adoption it's comforting. It's the ultimate win-win. The adoptive parent gets the baby, the baby is really wanted and adored and the birth parents move on with their lives. It's what we have all been told always about how adoption should work.

I think what eats away at me is that it doesn't challenge any of our notions about adoption on any level. It doesn't encourage any one to look at it in a new way.

It shows that a 16 year old and her parents with no experience in adoption pick someone out of the newspaper- with no advice or impartial third party to help them navigate this really difficult time. The film seems to say not only is this okay, but this is great. Despite years of research they choose to turn back the clock on adoption.

I think it's interesting that your friend who is an adoptee and Mallory as an adoptee have more positive feelings. Songbird, if you see it, let me know.


I had no idea there was an adoption storyline when I went to see it. I thought it was just the story of a teenager who got knocked up. I should have known better, especially because I had vaguely heard that pro-lifers were advertising it. As soon as the movie started talking adoption, I felt somewhat ill.

I spent the rest of the movie hoping she would change her mind and keep the baby, or at the very least demand an open adoption. I just kept thinking of my mom who was 17 when I was born and that made me cry more.

I was also particularly bothered by Juno's comment about her mother abandoning her (but still sending cactuses) earlier in the movie. I kept wanting to shake her and yell, your own mother left you! You know how crappy that feels! Keep the baby!

Next time there is a quirky movie, I think I will actually watch the trailer rather than trusting a 15 second TV commercial. What a downer the day after Christmas.

Her Grace

I haven't seen it, and I'm glad you wrote about it. It hasn't come to my town yet and I'm not sure when it will.

I'm disappointed, though, that a movie that's getting such rave reviews didn't even attempt to break the mold on adoption issues. I still plan on seeing it, but it's a shame, I think.


I saw Juno and didn't take my two adopted children. I'm glad I didn't.

I DID like the fact that Juno was portrayed as smart. Her obviously poorer family (compared to the adoptive parents) were not stereotyped as low class. The movie went out of its way to show this--and I appreciated that it turned this stereotype around.

However, I had some of the same reactions as you had to the movie.

It was weird. There were elements that screamed 1970s in this movie: the groovy 10-speed bike and no one wearing helmets, the groovy sweatbands and yellow short shorts worn by people in the movie...and of course the whole closed adoption presentation as the "best" choice for everyone. This REALLY bugged me. I felt like the guy who wrote the screenplay couldn't decide if this was a present day film or a tribute to the past.

I hated how it totally glossed over the feelings of the birth family--from the birth grandparents down to the birth parents. People who have lived adoption know feelings are there--and they run deep and don't go away.

I hated how they presented adoption as easy--"Wow, we just put our ad in the Pennysaver, and then you called!"

I hated how Juno said, "I'm 100% sure," and then NEVER wavered. And never wanted to see her kid. That was when I was glad my kids weren't in the audience because I didn't want them to think that their birthparents felt this way.

I feel like this movie hurt adoption. I'm glad that Juno was presented as a funny, smart, and caring person (she wasn't demonized as BAD), but I have to give this movie a thumbs-down.

On a side note, did anyone ever see the old "Immediate Family" with Glen Close, James Wood and Mary Stuart Masterson? This isn't a perfect open adoption movie by any means, either, but at least it was a little more realistic about the adoption experience.

Lisa V

I hated that Jennifer Garner asked her how sure she felt(80, 90, 100%), it was making this vulnerable teenager make this promise months before her baby was born.

I'm not trying to beat up the potential adoptive parents here. I know I felt that way when we met Noelle, I wondered if she would ultimately stick with her ultimate decision. However I didn't ask Noelle to reassure me (jesus Noelle, did I?Now is the chance you have to make me look like an ass) ,I talked to family and friends and tried to deal with my overwhelming feelings about finally having a baby.

I thought of Immediate Family too. It's been years since I've seen it, but I do remember that it dealt with the emotional complexity of adoption better, and that the baby's birth mother reflected more of the loss and grief. I think she even parents for awhile before ultimately deciding to place.


Okay, I just came back from seeing it. When I can breathe again, I'll post something at my place.

more cows than people

Hmm. Came here via Songbird. I am not an adoptee. I have not adopted. I am, thus far, infertile, several years. I appreciate reading the thoughtful criticisms of folks who have had experiences I have not.

I wept through this film. And I loved it.

I don't think it portrayed adoption as simple- it was clear the adoptive couple had already been through an adoption process that didn't work out, and my husband suggested that the Pennysaver ad was the husband's way of trying to avoid it working out.

The complexities of the marital relationship, the searing grief of Jennifer Garner's character, and... I think the scene in the hospital bed showed the pain of adoption even after all the sarcastic and glib comments that proceeded it.

Thanks for making me think.

more cows than people

That second to last paragraph doesn't make much sense. Please forgive. must. go. to. bed.

Lisa V

I was so overwhelmed identifying with Juno and the first family, that I really didn't invest emotionally into the infertile parents- which is totally ironic, as I was that infertile.

As I've said, I can see why people like the film. I just think it ignores everything we've learned about adoption in the last 20 years and that is wrong for such a hip film.


I came here via Songbird, too, and went to see the movie on Morecows' praise (in person, not on her blog, I think). I am prone to tears. It takes very little. When Morecows told me that she wept through the whole movie, I geared up for the same, and was utterly astonished when I remained dry-eyed through the whole thing.

I have neither struggled with infertility, nor adopted, nor been adopted, but have journeyed along with close friends on all those paths. The comments here and on Songbird's blog have been really enlightening for me.

I loved the movie and the smart dialogue. (We all could be so clever if we spouted out what screenwriters instructed us, no?!) I loved the honesty of Juno's struggle. She was clear-minded and unwavering, but she suffered and grieved. I loved her parents, fumbling through the best way to support her, her stepmom laying out the ultrasound tech. I hated Jennifer Garner and Jason Bateman, at different points, for different reasons. I actually hated Jennifer Garner all the way up to the end. Then I cheered for her.

What I found most interesting was on a socioeconomic level--the class and education differences between Juno's family and the adoptive family. The resources the adoptive family brought to the table. Most people I know who have adopted or are in the process of adopting have done so at tremendous personal cost to themselves. They are living frugally in order to bring a child into their lives, they are sacrificing tremendous amounts...I found it incredibly disheartening (and more than a little classist) that the wealthy, educated couple advertises in the Pennysaver, and all THAT implies...and they have the means to adopt privately (and offer other "compensation"), and even as they are splitting up, Jennifer Garner is not strapped--she can proceed with the plan, and the big house and the fancy life, now, with baby. Isn't that strange?

I'm really touched by all you who have shared your own stories here.


This movie Juno ignores - just completely ignores the fact that teen pregnancy is a social force that tends to suppress, neutralize, or even negate the effects of merit in the march to be an adult in America.

O Solo Mama

Hi Lisa, just discovered your blog! I know this post is pretty old but just wanted to comment that my 12-year-old, also adopted, loved Juno too. She saw the character as making a responsible decision. I think for many teens, a story line in which the character finds "good people" to parent the baby is where they are at, i.e., not having to be a mom at that stage of life is reassuring. I don't know how much one can read into that, and not suggesting you did. As with any film, I don't criticize DD's views; they belong to her, after all. But it will be interesting to see how those views grow and develop, the more aware they become of the implications of adoption.

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