Juno Summary and Analysis of Part 5: Birth


Juno goes inside her house, where her dad is doing some work at the kitchen table. She tells him she’s been “out dealing with things way beyond [her] maturity level.” When her dad comments on the fact that she seems down, Juno tells him that she’s losing her faith in humanity, before adding, “I just wonder if two people can stay together for good.” He tells her, “It’s not easy, that’s for sure, and I don’t have the best track record, I know, but I’ve been with your stepmother for 10 years now, and I’m proud to say we’re very happy.” When she looks heartbroken, he tells her, “Find a person who loves you for exactly what you are, good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you. The right person’s still gonna think the sun shines out your ass. That’s the kind of person that’s worth sticking with.” Juno tells her dad that she has to go out.

We briefly see Leah and Juno doing something outside Bleeker’s house late at night, but we can’t tell what. The next morning, Bleeker comes out of his house and looks down to find “Bleeker, Check the Mail” written in chalk on his front walk. He checks the mail, which is overflowing with Tic-Tacs and he smiles. We then see him running around the track later that day. He stops and smiles when he sees Juno walking towards him. “Did you put 100 things of Tic-Tacs in my mailbox?” he asks, and she confirms that she did it. She then says, “I’m sorry I was such a huge bitch to you, you don’t deserve it. And also, I think I’m in love with you.” After listing the reasons she loves him, they kiss. When Leah spots them from across the field, she yells, “Hey, you know, you could go into early labor sucking face like that.” Juno gives her the middle finger while still kissing Bleeker.

Later, Juno is lying in bed. Suddenly she calls to her father to tell him that her water broke. Juno, her dad, Bren, and her stepsister, Liberty Bell, all climb in the van and drive to the hospital. We see Leah pushing Juno around playfully in a wheelchair. In a room at the hospital, Bren tells Juno that she is not dilated enough for them to begin birthing the baby, as Juno complains and holds her stomach in pain. We see Bren and Leah at Juno’s bedside as she gives birth. “And then out of nowhere, there it was. There he was,” she narrates in voiceover, and we see her child being born. Juno narrates that she didn’t tell Bleeker about the fact that she was giving birth and we see Bleeker winning a track meet. As we see Bleeker looking around the stands for Juno, Juno narrates in voiceover, “But he figured it out anyway.” Bleeker runs out of the meet, all the way to the hospital.

We see Juno resting in a hospital bed as her dad strokes her head. “Someday you’ll be back here, honey, on your terms,” he tells her. Bleeker comes in, still wearing his track uniform. On his way out, Juno’s dad touches Bleeker’s shoulders affectionately, before leaving them alone. Bleeker lies down in bed with Juno and holds her. In voiceover, Juno tells us, “Bleeker didn’t want to see the baby. Neither did I. He didn’t feel like ours.” We see a nurse coming over and approaching Vanessa, who is waiting to meet the baby. The nurse brings Vanessa in and hands the baby to her. She holds it, as Bren watches. “How do I look?” she asks Bren, and Bren tells her, “Like a new mom, scared shitless.”

Juno cries as Bleeker holds her in the hospital bed. We see a rocking chair in the baby’s nursery, and Juno narrates, “It ended with a chair.” The camera pans to Juno’s note to Vanessa framed on the wall. It reads, “Vanessa, If you’re still in, I’m still in, Juno.” We see Vanessa holding the baby and looking at it.

Summer. We see the track team. Then we see Bren holding two Weimaraner puppies, her dream pets. Juno takes a bicycle out, with a guitar slung over her shoulder. She bikes to Bleeker’s house. Bleeker is waiting for her on his front steps with his own guitar. They play and sing together.


In the final section of the film, Juno makes up with Bleeker. In her typically quirky fashion, she first apologizes by completing a grand and unusual gesture: putting 100 Tic-Tacs in his mailbox in the middle of the night. The next day, she approaches him on the track, apologizes for being a bitch, and admits to being in love with him. The moment is sentimental and heartfelt, but the two idiosyncratic high schoolers maintain their senses of humor throughout. Nothing in Juno remains too heartfelt for long. When Juno tells Bleeker that she loves him because he’s cool without even trying, he corrects her that he tries really hard, actually. When she gets to the end of her honest apology, he asks simply, “Can we make out now?” and they do. Leah calls to them, heckling their PDA, and Juno doesn’t even break the kiss as she flips Leah the middle finger. The high schoolers in Juno go through huge life changes and must navigate incredibly mature terrain, but it’s irreverent and awkwardly humorous moments like this that keep them grounded in their teenager-dom, and give the movie a breezy charm.

In spite of all the chaos that formed around Juno’s pregnancy, by the end of the film the chaos resolves itself, the baby finds a happy home, and Juno’s life returns to normal. Not long after Juno resolves her issues with Bleeker, she goes into labor and has the baby. Birth is depicted as a beautiful experience, but in many ways, it is not for Juno. There is a brief moment in which Juno looks down at her recently birthed infant, but she does not spend much time with him. Indeed, the baby is not really hers, and she narrates as much in voiceover. Neither she nor Bleeker spend much time with the baby, and it is soon in Vanessa’s arms. Juno doesn’t want a baby, and Vanessa wants a baby so badly, so they are a well-matched pair. The hardship that they faced dissipates as Vanessa invites the baby into her home and Juno returns back to her life, now in a full-time committed relationship with Bleeker.

This final section of the film has a markedly more emotional tone than many of the other sections. While the film was notable in the beginning for its irreverent depiction of very serious events, now it takes those events much more seriously. While there are a few joke-y moments at the hospital before Juno gives birth, the moment of birth is shot with a reverent seriousness. Time seems to slow down as Leah and Bren sit at Juno’s bedside and she gives birth, and the profundity of birth is given its full tonal weight. While teen pregnancy and childbirth have hitherto been treated in an uncharacteristically breezy way, when it comes to the actual moment of delivery, Juno takes birth seriously.

The bittersweet mix of dark and light, sentimental and irreverent, funny and profound, is what made Juno so widely beloved at the time of its release. The film seeks to mirror the multifariousness of life, its ups and downs, its levity and drama, and critics clued into this tonality. In his review of the film in The New York Times, A.O. Scott wrote, “The snappy one-liners are a brilliant distraction, Ms. Cody’s way of clearing your throat for the lump you’re likely to find there in the movie’s last scenes.” Other critics praised this quality in the film, its courage in approaching heavy topics and its wisdom to do so with a great deal of humor. When Vanessa first holds the baby, she turns to Bren, who is watching her from the door. “How do I look?” she asks, to which Bren responds, “Like a new mom, scared shitless.” The first line of Bren’s response is an affirmation, an encouragement that Vanessa is perfectly well suited to the task of motherhood. The second line of her response is the punchline, a salty acknowledgment that motherhood is itself a terrifying task. It is Vanessa’s terror that makes her look so well-suited for the maternal role. The juxtaposition within this one line typifies the blending of tones and emotional timbres that made Juno so affecting at the time of its release.

While Juno may be changed by her experience of giving birth, awakened prematurely to an experience usually reserved for ready and willing adults, she maintains her teenaged innocence. Giving birth is not a traumatic or disorienting experience, and she is able to easily detach and recognize that Vanessa is the rightful parent of her baby. Thus, Juno’s ultimate maturity lies in her self-awareness and her ability to recognize her own relative immaturity. In the summer, she returns to her social routine, riding a bike to her boyfriend’s house to play a Moldy Peaches duet on his front steps. The experience of teen pregnancy does not have to be a stigmatized and mortifying one, the film suggests, but simply a step in Juno’s road towards growing up and becoming herself.