How old is too young to see 'Juno'?by Nanci Olesen, Minnesota Public Radio
The movie Juno was just nominated for several academy awards, including best picture. The film has been controversial because it deals with teen pregnancy. Some parents worry it'll give kids the impression pregnancy is easy. But many teens say they like the movie.
St. Paul, Minn. — Juno, played by Ellen Page, is 16 when she discovers she's pregnant.
The movie was written as a coming of age story. Screen writer Diablo Cody said she didn't realize the bigger issues she was opening up when she wrote it.
"This is a rather controversial topic," Cody said. "It hadn't occurred to me it honestly hadn't because I was setting out to write a personal story not a political one. I definitely didn't mean to infuse the story with any sort of moral perspective."
In the movie, Juno decides to have the baby and allow a couple to adopt it.
Some parents say they're worried it portrays pregnancy in too lighthearted a way.
16-year-old Morgan Niemeyer lives in St. Paul. She said her mom was worried about her going to the movie.
"Because she was going, 'I don't want you to go see this with your boyfriend,' " Morgan said. "(As though) it'll make me go, 'You're gonna want to have a baby too now.' So it was really funny to hear her say this to me."
Morgan said as it turned out, going to the movie led her and her mom to talk about teen pregnancy. Her Mom, Shannon Niemeyer, eventually went to see the movie herself, and liked it. It made her laugh.
"It's almost as if we're laughing at ourselves about things that we're worried about," Shannon Niemeyer said. "Juno comes off eventually being more adult than many of the adults in the film."
Some parents are choosing to go the movie with their kids. Joe Mish lives in Pine Island, Minn., and teaches middle school kids. He said saw the movie with his ninth grade daughter and that it started a conversation for them.
"Anything that can open up the lines of discussion about the topic of teenage pregnancy that's a great opportunity to talk or communicate or do something together," Mish said. "I recommend that people take their kids to see it."
At Avalon Charter School in St. Paul teens who had seen the movie said they didn't see anything shocking in the film. Dustin McAvoy, 18, said he was surprised the film has been controversial.
"Just because pregnant teens aren't uncommon, and it just doesn't seem like it would be as big of a deal as people have made of this movie," he said.
His classmate, 15-year-old Sophia Anastazievsky, agreed.
"There's pregnant teenagers in the real world so their kids are obviously going to be exposed to that," she said. "Maybe if they don't want their children to be seeing it in such a lighthearted way they should just talk to the kids about it because the kids are going to be exposed to the movie anyway in one way or another."
And if the movie is making people talk, screen writer Diablo Cody said, so much the better.
"I want as many people to see the movie as possible and I don't care why," she said.
- Morning Edition, 02/15/2008, 7:50 a.m.