Saturday night - when I was not otherwise predisposed to snarking at the punks next to me in the theatre who insisted that "Whatchoo talkin' 'bout Willis?" came from a show called "Webster" from the '70s - I was busy allowing the movie "Juno" to inch its way into my Top Ten Favorite Movies of All Time.
If you've ever been sixteen, or pregnant, or both, you must see this movie.
It's very wise in a way that films about adolescence only sometimes succeed. Juno, played by the brilliant Ellen Page, is spectacularly snide, clever, and self-assured. She has a plan, always, it seems. She probably even planned to wear her cherry underoos when she goes to pop Paulie Bleaker's cherry. But then there is a moment when she confesses to her father and stepmother that she's pregnant, and her father says, "I thought you were the kind of girl who would have known when to say when."
And then Juno says, hesitantly, "I don't really know what kind of girl I am."
Here we begin to realize that she is not so wise. She does not always have a plan. She is sixteen, she is pregnant. She is very confused.
There's a courage in her concession. I don't really know what kind of a girl I am.
When I was sixteen, I was very busy overachieving and not eating and covering my notebooks with aphorisms and "Proud to be a virgin" buttons. I thought I knew what kind of girl I was. I thought I had a plan, always. Now, I realize that I was a chickenbone. I was the wilted pickle on Juno's hamburger phone. I didn't know what kind of girl I was and this was evidenced in how I treated those around me, and how I treated myself. I should note that one of my old neighbors told her kids that Juno reminded her of me. And I can only hope it was because she once knew me in high school when I dressed androgynously and wore a perma-ponytail, and not because I was someone who always seemed to have a plan. Because that would just be too painful to know.
I've been thinking about "Juno" for a few days now, and I've watched every interview with "Juno" screenwriter Diablo Cody on youtube, and I've listened to a few tracks from the soundtrack eleventy four times a piece, and when I am not otherwise sobbing from all the beautiful scenes these rewinds trigger, I am thinking that I hope Ellen Page wins the Oscar. I think she's the kind of girl who should win.
Photo from Oscars.com