Juno (2007), written by Diablo Cody, won the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay at the 80th Academy Awards.
- Draft Read: Undated
- Type: Shooting
- Page Count: 102
- Reading Speed: Medium
- Setting(s): Minnisota
- Plot Structure: Linear, Spanning multiple months
- Genre(s): Coming-of-Age, Love
- Theme(s): Love, Pregnancy, Divorce
- Protagonist Change: Significant
Juno was a big film when it came out. I distinctly remember not being allowed to see it because some
clowns people claimed that it supported a pro-life pro-teenage-pregnancy message. Complete nonsense.
The script is unlike any other I have read. Through dialogue and action, it conveys a strong feeling of self-deprecation. In other words, there’s no hero’s journey here, just people trying to make sucky situations a little bit better. And while there are comedic elements, it’s not exactly a comedy either.
What carries the movie is the character of Juno herself, which I will come back to later.
An unplanned teenage pregnancy. That’s basically the whole plot. A husband and wife want to adopt the unborn child, but then in the Third Act the husband asks the wife for a divorce and the story gets interesting.
Let’s start with Juno, who is an immature misfit. But she has self-confidence and doesn’t take things too seriously. As she is pregnant, she is forced to make big changes in her life and overall worldview. I could dive into the other characters, but in reality, they really are just support.
Dialogue & Pacing
The dialogue, as noted, is self-deprecating. It’s a style of writing I hadn’t seen before.
The story follows Juno’s pregnancy. The story, to me, really gets interesting on page 80 (79% of the way through the script). Up until this point, Juno and Mark, the prospective adoptive father (is that the right term?), had been getting closer and closer. You could read it as though they are on the verge of having an affair, but to me it isn’t quite at that level. The bigger message is that Mark gets along better with a 16-year-old than his wife.
But then Mark says that he’s leaving Vanessa. And the conflict soars. Except not really because Vanessa is pretty much okay with the divorce and Juno agrees to give her baby to Vanessa. Cody definitely does a great job exploring the interests of each character, such as Mark’s love of music and film, which gets us emotionally invested and makes the Third Act really strong.
The pacing works, and I can’t tell you why that is other than what I just wrote. It’s a fast read too.
It’s definitely a powerful film, but I wouldn’t call it a very deep one. The themes are deep, but the scenes are more comical, cringy, and awkward if anything.
Best Part of The Scrip
The opening scenes at the drugstore (pages 1-4), as well as the Third Act, which in my opinion really starts on page 80.