Study Questions for Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007)

Study Questions for Juno (Jason Reitman, 2007)

  1. Watch the opening shots of the film carefully. How do they prepare the audience for the film?
  2. What is the significance of the empty chair in the film?
  3. 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.
  4. What is the significance of the voice-over in the film?
  5. What messages do you think could be conveyed through the seasonal markers in the film?
  6. What messages do you think could be conveyed through Pauline’s high school cross-country team in the film?
  7. 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?
  8. Think about some teen movies you have seen and discuss how much Juno has in common with them.
  9. Make a comparison between Juno’s house and Mark and Vanessa’s house. How would a comparison help you understand these three characters?
  10. In what ways would you call Juno a coming-of-age film? Give examples.
  11. What is your reaction to the film’s treatment of the adoption issue?
  12. Comment on the film’s representation of masculinity by examining how Paulie, Juno’s father and Mark are depicted in the film.
  13. Examine the film’s representation of “girlhood”. Is it stereotypical? Why? Why not?
  14. Examine to what extent Juno is represented as an individual with sexual agency.
  15. Comment on the feminist subtext of the film.
  16. 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.

Buy the DVD.


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