Critic Consensus: Aided and abetted by a wonderful cast, director Phil Morrison transforms familiar material into an understated and resonant comedy.
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Critic Reviews for Junebug
...one of many reasons to love Junebug is how often it offers us spaces to fill in ourselves, the faith it shows in handing us small puzzles -- Eugene's hand-carved bird, for instance -- to chuckle over or think on afterward.
Morrison and MacLachlan mine the clash of cultures for comedy, but there's an undertow of sadness to their film - and Adams's touching performance as George's naïve but well-meaning, heavily pregnant sister-in-law captures this perfectly
At every moment when "Junebug" could choose dramatic cliché, even with Ashley's pregnancy, it's beautifully subtle. A poetic, graceful tale about the comforts and oddities of returning home to family.
The humor here is expectedly quirky but it feels earned thanks to writer MacLachlan and director Morrison's honestly rendered observations of family and small-town life
Junebug annoyed me while in the theater, and annoys me even more as I write about it.
Audience Reviews for Junebug
There are many lovely things about this indie darling from screenwriter Angus MacLachlan and director Phil Morrison, and many little things that make it the obviously trying too hard quirky film everyone thinks it is. These little things amount to very little, as previously stated. It's mostly details, including the strange artist living in the middle of nowhere, painting slightly racist, obviously crazy paintings, and the strange and yet overt religious overtones. The anachronistic feeling of the film is lent to the setting for the film which is in the very rustic, Bible thumping South, complete with characters that are stuck in the past as well. Besides the family looking backwards to find their convictions, they're also far from the keen eye of outsiders. A family, (Wilson and Weston as the parents) seemingly separated from people outside of their community, await the birth of a new baby while lamenting the lost life of their son. He is married to his high school sweetheart, and remains repressed thanks to his own despair towards his own life. His brother, George, (Nivola) marries an extreme outsider, who does love the man, but resembles someone else entirely from themselves. The person who steals the entire show remains Amy Adams, and it's in the first couple of seconds onscreen that you understand why she was nominated for an Academy Award. The character of Ashley is bubbly, always trying too hard, and always wants the best for the future. Though her circumstances are inevitably going to get worse when her baby arrives, she believes that it will bring her and her husband together once more. It's definitely an actor's movie, and though Adams does steal the show, every single person in this film comes off genuine and interesting. Embeth Davidtz, who plays the main character, Madeleine, is very engaging if flawed, but she is also playing someone who is seemingly soft-hearted. It has some problems overall, but it's definitely worth watching, and it is strangely entertaining to see a family collapse without a leader.
An urbanite couple returns to the South to visit one's family and pursue an artist.
There are aspects of the South that this film captures that I've rarely seen expressed so clearly and accurately on film. The odd inferiority complex, which is the most prominent and elusive, the commitment to religion, the familial devotion, the silent father, the nosey neighbor, the verdant landscape, the meddling mother, the racist, loyal Confederate artist -- all of it is here and expressed in all its honorable integrity and ridiculousness. The film is an achievement on the level of Faulkner in this way, but it obviously lacks in others.
Amy Adams's break-through performance is the film's highlight, and Adams is both charming and annoying. Her work embodies the film's embrasure of contradictions, which is why she fits so well with the rest of the strong ensemble.
I think the film didn't fully get at the root of the family's dysfunction, as Super Reviewer Alice Shen pointed out, but I also think the film was caught betwixt and between on whether or not to judge these characters.
Overall, Junebug is a fantastic addition to film's attempt to capture the South.
Fish out of water tale has college edujumakated art gallery manager goin ta meet up wit hubby's "at least we ain't got no fancy airs") downhome family ... and it's no bed of roses, that's for sure. And the unpleasantness happens just as our world traveller is trying to woo the South in the form of a blossoming curmudgeony outsider artist. Social observations via light (very light) comedy.
|Eugene:||Where would I be if I was a screwdriver?|
|Ashley:||All I really want is for Johnny to love me like he did in high school.|
|Ashley:||Did they sign a contact?|
|Ashley:||God loves you just the way you are. But He loves you too much to let you stay that way.|
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