Pro lifers hail Juno

10 Feb 2008

By The Record

juno.jpgAn Oscar-nominated movie about a pregnant teenager who decides not to
abort her baby has been welcomed, with some reservations, by Australian
Catholics working in the pro-life area.

The Canadian-American comedy Juno is written by a young feminist,
Diablo Cody, and stars Ellen Page as a pregnant teen who visits an
abortion clinic but then chooses to have her baby and give it up for

The movie is set to have a bigger cultural impact around the world
after receiving four Academy Award nominations late in January,
including a nomination for Best Picture.The executive officer of the Respect Life Office of Perth, Bronia Karniewicz, says while Juno would not be everybody’s cup of tea, and features a lot of swearing, it nevertheless comes as a “breath of fresh air” because of its themes.

She said it was a relief to find movies being made which show there are consequences to sexual activity, since so many Hollywood movies over the years have shown sex as something entirely casual.
Other recent films which have also shown women keeping their babies after an unplanned pregnancy, despite the hardships the decision brings, include Waitress, Knocked Up and Bella.
Ms Karniewicz said that while the swearing in Juno would put some people off, she found the movie’s characters likeable.
According to American media reports, the writer of Juno, Diablo Cody, has said she did not want to push an anti-abortion perspective. One profile described her as “pro-choice.”
Ms Karniewicz said she believes the intention of the movie’s writer was to create a teenage character with strength and substance, which she has achieved by creating the character of 16-year-old Juno.
Not all other staff working in Respect Life Offices around Australia had yet seen the film when contacted by The Record, but all were aware of it.
The Respect Life Offices in Sydney and Melbourne said the movie was of interest to many people in contact with them. Some reported that while the movie projected a welcome message about the value of unborn life, other features of the film were less admirable.
Claire Anthony, who is the publicity and promotions manager for the Australian Catholic Students Association, said she had mixed emotions after seeing the movie.
She said the film had genuinely moved her and she left the cinema with a smile on her face.
She said the film’s main character is a teenager who shows real integrity by making the choice for adoption rather than abortion. She’s an example of a teenager who wants to make a decision that she regards as right.
Ms Anthony admired the fact that while the character’s friends encourage her to abort the child, Juno resists this pressure. “She is able to realize the gift of life and how precious it is,” Ms Anthony said.
On balance, Ms Anthony says she thinks the movie is a good one for teenagers to see.
However she would not describe the movie’s character as heroic.
Ms Anthony said some negative messages appear subliminally in the film. These include an easy attitude towards pre-marital sexual activity and towards divorce, as well as some swearing.
However she says that judging it from the point of view of the non-Christian moviegoer today, Juno is a welcome development.
“So many women today simply panic when they get pregnant and rush to get an abortion. However Juno stopped to think about it.”
“Someone who is not a Christian might be affected in a positive way by this movie, by thinking that life is precious,” she says.