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Odd, insightful movie best for mature teens+.
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Tomatometer®reviews counted: 26see all Junebug reviews
Top Critic Reviews
Fresh: It's a quiet, funny, moving triumph, the kind of movie that gives 'interesting' a good name.
- Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, Friday, August 26, 2005
Rotten: Thanks to newfangled things like TV and the Internet, small-town folks aren't as uniformly insulated as director Phil Morrison and screenwriter Angus McLachlan would have us believe.
- Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle, Friday, August 19, 2005
Fresh: This brilliantly detailed, richly painted portrait lingers long in the memory.
- Carrie Rickey, Philadelphia Inquirer, Friday, August 26, 2005
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.
- FrizzDrop, Tuesday, September 3, 2013
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.
- hunterjt13, Sunday, June 23, 2013
"Junebug" is an unusual, intelligent film that explores unhappy subject matter. A well-educated thirtysomething man from Chicago takes his new wife home to North Carolina to meet his uneducated and emotionally damaged family. Once you see their extraordinary damage, it's not surprising that he was not in too much of a hurry to introduce her to them. Dad is so shell-shocked that he walks around in a stupor. He still has a lot of love in his heart, but it's barely visible under the layers of disappointment. Mom, played very well by the always-underrated Celia Weston, is a walking scorpion, eager to sting everyone with whom she comes into contact. She takes an instant dislike to her new daughter-in-law. Then there's little Johnny, a twentysomething loser who is about to become a father. Johnny has an inexplicable hatred for his big-city brother. In one almost-preposterous scene, Johnny throws a wrench at his brother, hitting him in the head, in a completely unprovoked attack. Johnny's wife is played by Amy Adams, who rocketed to fame almost immediately after the film was released and received a supporting-actress Oscar nomination. Adams does do an exceptional job here. It's very hard for actors to play characters who have less education than they do, so Adams' achievement is all the more noteworthy. The downside of the film is that it often feels like a TV dramedy along the lines of "Brothers and Sisters." Sometimes it's impossibly cloying and obvious. But at other times director Phil Morrison, who is still a relative newcomer to film, stylizes his scenes with uncommon artistry. I was especially taken with his skills as an ethnographer, introducing his audience to the unique rhythms, textures, and sights of small-town Carolina life. Frequently he pauses the action and turns his camera to the town where the film was shot and beautifully drinks in the sights. But by the same token, these moves were a little distancing. At almost every moment Morrison seemed hyper-aware of himself as a refugee from towns such as this. Rather than identifying with his small-town characters, he seems to consider them odd specimens. I sensed a big-city arrogance to a number of his shots, which made my skin crawl. Has he really never met an uneducated person as interesting, smart, and unique as he? How sad -- and pathetic. He's got to get out of the city more often and drop his arrogant guard so he can actually encounter people. That's called being a true artist. But then again, at least Mr. Morrison is trying to venture out of big cities. Most artists never get even that far. He has a long way to go, but he might turn out to be one of the most exciting and unique directors of the early 21st century.
- dunmyer, Friday, October 16, 2009