Monday, May 05, 2008

So we finally saw the movie Juno over the weekend.  I had heard from practically everyone what a great movie it was, and it finally made its way to the top of our net.flix queue.  So what did I think of it?  It’s a harder question than I might have thought.  It was funny, well written.  Great dialogue, the young girl actress is very cute and talented, and I like the way it was directed and edited. 


But I cried a lot.  And after the movie I went to bed feeling emotionally drained.  In a way that I haven’t felt in a long time.  It resurfaced a lot of feelings that I haven’t felt for a long time.  I went to bed feeling depressed and feeling drained the way I used to feel when we were struggling so hard.  It was amazing how just a movie could bring back those feelings so strongly that it left me feeling so emotionally drained. 


But there was something about the movie that really didn’t like - how the adoptive mother was portrayed.  They made her seem so uptight, like she was trying too hard to be perfect.  I kept thinking that they intended for people to not really like her through most of the movie, like she was going to be this overly perfect fake mother, in comparison to Juno who was such a free spirit.  Like she didn’t have any kind of sense of humor or sensitive side to her.  They made her seem cold and artificial.


It bothered me to see an infertile woman portrayed that way.  Because I felt like I could totally relate to her.  When you’ve been through years of heartbreak, you tend to stuff your feelings pretty far down inside so that people can’t see how you really feel.  Because displaying how you really feel is just too painful.  I can see how that could make you seem cold or unemotional, but in reality we are just the opposite – we want nothing more than to shower our love and emotion all over our child.  I just kept thinking that if we had ended up going the adoption route, I probably would have seemed a lot like her.  I would have wanted my home to seem perfect, I would have wanted my marriage to seem perfect, I would have wanted myself to seem perfect.  I would have wanted a birth mother to see us as the perfect choice to place her baby.  And it all probably would have come off as uptight.  I would have seemed uptight because I would have been trying so darn hard to not break down crying at every turn.  I wouldn’t have wanted a birth mother or an adoption agency to think that I was some kind of blubbering fool – so I would have probably stuffed my emotions so far down inside that you might have thought they didn’t exist. 


And then there was the whole thing with the husband, and did he really not want it, and was the wife just pushing this on him because maybe it would complete her image of a perfect little fake life.  That bothered me.


So I guess my concern about this movie is that I felt like this poor woman was probably seen by many viewers and cold and unemotional, and only those of us who have been in her shoes would know how she really felt, and know that it wasn’t true.  I think the movie made infertile parents look bad.  And that bothers me.  Aanother example of big and inaccurate generalizations that the media and Hollywood make about infertility.




Michelle said...

I'm intrigued by your interpretation of "Juno". Having dealt with infertility for five years prior to a successful IVF, I also shed tears every time I watch it (now own it on DVD). I relate so closely with Jennifer Garner's character. I guess I just didn't take her character as a negative. I saw it just that way you suggested that you would act/feel had you pursued the adoption route -- as a woman desparate to be a mother (so desparate that she wanted her life to appear perfect). I understand that the general (fertile) public might see it otherwise, but it was actually comforting to me to see that other people (real or pretend) could feel the way I did. I agree that it was an emotional movie to watch -- just wanted to throw another perspective out there.

Bea said...

I felt much the same way as you. I thought the portrayal was accurate, but was a bit frustrated to think that most of the audience were no doubt missing the subtext. They could see her actions, but had no clue as to why she was like that or how she got that way. Whereas I could also identify with her.

Unfortunately, in a movie called "Juno", I guess you have to expect Juno's perspective to dominate. There just wasn't room to explore Vanessa's viewpoint thoroughly. Hopefully another time, another film.

Interestingly, I didn't take the husband's flakiness as a poor reflection on her. I took it as a poor reflection on him, the boy who never grew up, whereas the women were prepared to make all the tough choices. Even Juno's boyfriend was trying, in his own way, to be responsible, and her parents were stepping up to the plate, too. He, on the other hand, allowed himself to be swept along and only piped up at the last moment when backed into a corner.


Nickie said...

interesting take on Juno.

I think JG did a great job of portraying the tense excitement about finally getting a baby. I could feel her desire to want to experience the pg along with Juno, but being respectful not to be pushy and so she channeled her energy into preparing with the stuff quotient. I bet she would not have given quite so intricate of a performance prior to becoming a mother herself.