Study Questions for Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007)

Study Questions for Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007)

  • Watch the opening shots of the film carefully. How do they prepare the audience for the film?
  • What is the significance of the empty chair in the film?
  • Examine the waiting-room sequence in the film carefully and comment on how the camera movements and angles, the editing techniques, the colors, and the sound help us understand Juno’s story.
  • What is the significance of the voice-over in the film?
  • What messages do you think could be conveyed through the seasonal markers in the film?
  • What messages do you think could be conveyed through Pauline’s high school cross-country team in the film?
  • Teenage pregnancy is a highly political and hot-button issue. Carry out some research to find out about the debates regarding the pro-choice movement and the anti-choice (pro-life/right-to-life) movement in the States. Discuss to what extent these debates are reflected in the film. What stance(s) does the film have as far as these pro-choice and anti-choice movements are concerned?
  • Think about some teen movies you have seen and discuss how much Juno has in common with them.
  • Make a comparison between Juno’s house and Mark and Vanessa’s house. How would a comparison help you understand these three characters?
  • In what ways would you call Juno a coming-of-age film? Give examples.
  • What is your reaction to the film’s treatment of the adoption issue?
  • Comment on the film’s representation of masculinity by examining how Paulie, Juno’s father and Mark are depicted in the film.
  • Examine the film’s representation of “girlhood”. Is it stereotypical? Why? Why not?
  • Examine to what extent Juno is represented as an individual with sexual agency.
  • Comment on the feminist subtext of the film.
  • Essay topic: Write an essay discussing the following statement by Jessica L. Willis (2008): “In Juno, a young girl’s body is marked as a text on which cultural confusions about sex, gender and sexuality get played out.”

© Ali Nihat Eken, Istanbul, December 2009


Suggested readings:
Carolyn Gage (2008). Juno: reproductively commodified. Off Our Backs (38)1.
Haines, Ruby, McCaslin, Mantilla and Rodgers (2007). Juno: Feminist or not? Off our backs. (37)4.
Jessica L. Willis (2008). Sexual subjectivity: A semiotic analysis of girlhood, sex and sexuality in the film Juno. Society and Culture, 12:240-256.
Pamela Thoma. Buying up baby. Feminist Media Studies, Dec2009, Vol. 9 Issue 4.
Richard Barsam & Dave Monahan (2010). Looking at movies: An introduction to film. New York: Norton.
Susan Bordo (1993, 2004). Unbearable weight: Feminism, western culture, and the body (10th anniversary edition.). Berkeley: University of California Press.

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