Rising stars Amy Adams and Ben McKenzie light up the screen in this award-winning comedy about love, family, ambition, and the choices that come with each. Worldly gallery owner Madeleine and her husband travel to North Carolina, where she hopes to woo a brilliant, but eccentric, folk painter. During this Southern journey, Madeleine also meets her new in-laws: George's skeptical mother, Peg; his silent and withdrawn father, Eugene; and his surly brother, Johnny. The only welcoming member of the family is Johnny's affectionate, enthusiastic, and extremely pregnant wife, Ashley. Struggling to balance church socials with delicate business negotiations, Madeleine finds that she must choose what matters to her most.
spotlights some big fat culture clashes--small town vs. city ways, art-world bohemian vs. church-going folk--yet social commentary never overwhelms a delightful, emotionally rich portrait of family life. When Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz, Schindler's List
), a chic art gallery owner from Chicago, meets with an outsider artist in North Carolina she's eager to represent, she and her new husband George (Alessandro Nivola, Laurel Canyon
) take a side trip to visit George's family. The visit sends everyone spinning: George's mother (Celia Weston, The Village
) doubts the suitability of the marriage; his brother Johnny (Ben McKenzie, The O. C.
) quietly seethes at being overshadowed again by his older sibling; and Johnny's very pregnant wife Ashley (Amy Adams, Catch Me If You Can
) fixates on Madeleine, seeking in her a companionship that she can't find in her normal life. Junebug
's unexpected rhythms slowly and subtly tease out the past; few movies are as eloquent about the mysteries of family--the hidden rules and resentments, the shifting alliances, the emotional pushes and pulls. Adams' justly praised performance lights up every scene she's in, flowing from comic to heartrending without missing a beat, but the rest of the cast delivers complex and mesmerizing character portraits as well. Junebug
will resonate with you long after it's over. --Bret Fetzer