Masculinity In Juno Film

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In the film Juno (2007), Michael Cera’s character Paulie Bleeker is not a “humorless clown” or traditional masculine hero in any manner (Alilunas). Instead, through cinematography, dialogue and narrative structure Cera is portrayed as a “trauma” to the norm of masculinity. Cera possesses complete characteristics of a “failed masculinity” and “conventionally feminine traits” (Alilunas). Dr. Michael Kimmel, who is a sociologist and editor of the book Men and Masculinities has stated that a “recent paradigm in manhood” has shifted from an admiration for “guys with sweat on their forearms” to an “ideal man” that has an “increased respect for feminine traits” due to the “increase of status for women in society” (Toub). Cera in Juno is a representation…show more content…
This creates an even playing field for both characters. The camera is a participant observer and the misé-en-scene/cinematic technique in this shot technique does not ask Cera to dominate the frame nor does he fade off into the background. The scene that best expresses this sequence is one near the end of the film in which Juno walks across the track and states “I think I’m in love with you” to Bleeker. The shot-reverse-shot allows for Bleeker to retort “You mean as friends?” and the camera cuts back to him as he smiles to display a “brand of passive, quirky masculinity” that John Wayne would never dare to show on screen (Peterson). In The Searchers, Ethan Edwards is a character that even when joking appears serious. For example, Edwards remarks to another male character during a shoot-out, “Yes sir, he’ll be right in your lap in a minute, Sonny.” The camera holds and Wayne briefly smirks, but as he walks off screen he stares down the other characters and towers over the background of Monument Valley in a strategic wide shot. It is clear that Wayne would never be placed in a similar shot-reverse-shot technique as Paulie Bleeker. However, it is plausible to argue that James Dean in Rebel Without a Cause is placed in similar…show more content…
The shot-reverse-shot technique and his verbal mannerisms on screen create a new “oral code” that reverts away from the way “men speak” and establishes his own unique “deliberate style of delivering dialogue” (Wexman, 99). Within the story arc he is allowed to show weakness and express his emotions verbally. The cinematography allows for both characters to be equally smiling and expressing emotion without any dominance or need for visual/audible representations of masculinity/emasculation. Instead, Paulie represents a new form of masculinity that is neither polarizing with manly traits (John Wayne) nor struggling with not so manly traits (James Dean). Paulie’s strength comes instead from his ability to be presented as an equal who does not need to be the strong man or strive for answers that question his inability to be the strong man. Through camera angles and story arc, Cera is displayed as a discontinuation of the traditional representation (The Searchers) or inner search for (Rebel Without a Cause) the prototypical hard boiled, physically strong and dominating male lead. Instead, Michael Cera in the film Juno is a representation of a different form of masculinity that presents the male lead as an equal from both a cinematic and narrative

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