Movie Theater Butter: ‘Juno’

I’m willing to bet one of my allotted 10 daily meal swipes (you read that right, all of Tufts’ first-years are being charged over $3000 in exchange for the oh-so-necessary ability to enter Dewick or Carm up to 10 times a day) that you, the reader, have at least one film that you love inexplicably. A film that for whatever reason — whether it’s because of who you watched it with or when it found its way into your life — you love unconditionally. This film isn’t necessarily your current favorite film, but it is one that will always cheer you up. For me that film is “Juno” (2007).

The 2007 film is a collaboration between director Jason Reitman and writer Diablo Cody, with this project being Cody’s writing debut. The film follows 16-year-old Juno MacGuff through an unexpected pregnancy during her junior year of high school. Ellen Page stars as the story’s knocked-up hero, with incredible supporting performances delivered by Jennifer Garner, J. K. Simmons and the incomparable Allison Janney.

I saw “Juno” for the first time when I was nine years old. My mother showed it to me on a whim suspecting I would like it, and boy, did I. Despite our fairly large age gap and difference in circumstance (my commitment to Model United Nations allowed me to narrowly avoid the threat of teenage pregnancy), I really related to Juno. On my first viewing I saw a witty, thoughtful, smart young woman seamlessly navigating the world. Juno became the woman I hoped to one day be.

Movies have an unbelievable ability to shape us and our beliefs, and it wasn’t until recently that I realized that my preference for graphic t-shirts and plaid could be traced back to that initial viewing of “Juno,” which is why I believe that it’s important to go back and watch the movies that impacted us. In my most recent viewings of “Juno,” my reading of the main character has changed. I can see past some of her tough exterior. I can hear the fear and worry that hide behind some of her wittiest quips. I can see the careful balance that she is sometimes unable to keep up, and to me, this makes it all the more powerful.

Now when I watch her, she feels even more real. I am comparing my experiences against hers rather than holding her up as a goal. I’ve found even more humanity in her as I’ve been able to recognize her flaws and fears. Now, I can’t promise that whichever movie you hold near and dear from the 2000s will hold up, but I urge you to take the risk: go back down memory lane and watch it anyway. You may just learn a bit about yourself.