My devised theme is The Truth about Teenagers and it’s directed at teenagers to show them a different side of what they may think and know teenagers to be about. The films I have researched are Kidulthood, directed by Menhaj Huda; and Juno, directed by Jason Reitman. The theme of both films is teenagers, however they’re about completely different things Kidulthood is a British Drama about deprived teenagers who make trouble, it’s very dramatic and serious. However, Juno is an American Comedy-Drama about a very independent-minded teenager who becomes pregnant by accident.
It’s a lot more light-hearted and cheerful than Kidulthood. This is shown by the music, language and storyline of the films. Throughout Kidulthood there is swearing, violence, drugs and sex shown in dark and uneasy situations with a lot of tension and fear. It’s naturalistic because it is shown in an ordered progressive way. It focuses on only one day in the life of teenagers. Juno is quite the opposite with no drugs or violence, but more about how different people, like Juno’s parents and boyfriend, respond to her situation shown in a less dramatic, easy-going way.
Juno is more non-naturalistic because it shows events in different orders with flashbacks. However Juno is about pregnancy, which is a main part of the storyline in Kidulthood but because of the settings and characters of the films, the situation couldn’t be more different. The main themes in Kidulthood are violence, solidarity and power. In Juno the main themes are pro-life, choices and relationships. Both films are set in the modern day. Kidulthood is set in Central London and Juno is set in Canada.
London is busy, potentially dangerous and full of youths whereas the place in Canada is portrayed as quiet and friendly. We know it’s set in the modern day because of the language and the sights we see in the film and some references to famous people in this day. In Kidulthood the teenagers use words like ‘innit’ and ‘wagwan’ and swear a lot and use slang in aggressive ways. Whereas in Juno they use modern-day American slang like ‘dude’ and ‘jeez’ but it isn’t used in an aggressive way. In Juno there are references to famous Americans like Woody Allen.
In Kidulthood you see sights like London Underground and Oxford Street, which show you what time it is set in. In both films a character becomes pregnant. In Kidulthood, Alisa falls pregnant and her best friend tries to persuade her to abort the baby and there is a lot of negative attitude towards the situation. In Juno, Juno becomes pregnant but she is told she can make her own decision and everyone is relatively calm about it. The characters in Kidulthood are rebellious; they drink, smoke, take drugs and have sex.
In Juno, although she does become pregnant, she and the rest of the characters aren’t into going out late and taking drugs etc. In my opinion both texts explore the themes successfully. In Kidulthood the themes of violence and power are thoroughly explored. I think it is successful in the respect that it has appealed to teenagers; however, I think Kidulthood shows only one perspective of how teenagers behave. I like the way it shows how they are becoming more involved in the adult world but I think it is exaggerated and sensationalist.
I think focusing on only one group in society restricts Kidulthood. Juno is very sensitive in it’s treatment of a pregnant teenage girl. It looks at the perspective from the boy, the girl and adults. Therefore Juno is less focused on just one group and we are able to see other people’s opinions as well as the main characters. It shows that you don’t have to be a bad person to make mistakes, which is the way Kidulthood comes across. In conclusion I think Juno shows a more balanced view on teenagers and is generally a more positive film.