Juno is Just Right

Learning more and more things about the Independent film industry, I have a new perspective and respect for Indie film makers.  Indie has become more and more popular and catching the eye of the public in mainstream culture.  I’ve learned that Hollywood films follow a predictable, same old same old based story line versus Indie films having challenging narrative for the audience to connect with as Murphy explains in the introductory of the book, “creating sophisticated and challenging narratives that have provided a much needed alternative to an industry that at times has become less concerned with producing quality films than in orchestrating the next mega blockbuster” (Murphy 2).  Murphy emphasizes structure is the most important component that defines what an Indie film is.  Hollywood films follow a very structured formula based script composed of three parts.  What makes Indie movies special is their unique individualistic script, “From an aesthetic standpoint, the script is also the beginning of the creative process, and the first place where the filmmaker can start to express his or her individuality” (Murphy 6).  Walter, Field, and Seger theorize that all successful scripts are composed of three parts(as Field puts it):

  1. The first act- “The setup”
  2. The second act- “The confrontation”
  3. The third act- “The resolution”

I chose Juno to analyze the film’s narrative structure using Field and Walter’s structure methods.

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Juno is the “goal driven” protagonists throughout the film.  I feel like the plot for Juno does follow the formulaic recipe for a Hollywood film.   “The setup” needs to catch the audiences attention within the first 10 min according to Field.  It is possibly the most crucial part of the movie because the audience decides whether or not they like the film by that point.  Juno starts out with a 16-year old girl who is pregnant thinking about adoption or abortion.  “The confrontation” is generally longer than the first and third phase.  Juno constantly struggles with her emotions towards the father of her child, Paulie.  She goes on an emotional rollercoaster with the constant back and forth.  Finally, we come to “The resolution”.  The ending of Juno is kind of your classic Paulie rushes to the hospital to Juno’s birth giving and they close the movie with Juno and Paulie playing a guitar with a kiss as the credits roll.

Murphy concludes that Indie films “walk that fine line of having both elements of novelty and convention” (Murphy 24).  I think that aesthetically Juno is definitely Indie. The plot, the setting, Juno says Indie.  However, I believe that it agrees with Field’s three part Hollywood formula, but with its own unique spin.  Juno premiered at a film festival in Toronto International Film Festival.  It went on today show in many key film festivals all over the place.  It was one of those films that followed that winning formula for a hit cross over Indie film that became widely popular.  It is one of those tweeners between Indie and Hollywood where it could be considered somewhere in the middle as Murphy says happens with films such as Reservoir Dogs and Gas Food Lodging.

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