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Junebug (2005)

7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 17,610 users   Metascore: 80/100
Reviews: 185 user | 131 critic | 34 from Metacritic.com

A dealer in "outsider" art travels from Chicago to North Carolina to meet her new in-laws, challenging the equilibrium of this middle class Southern home.

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Title: Junebug (2005)

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Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 24 wins & 17 nominations. See more awards »

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Directors: Kim Gordon, Phil Morrison, and 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
David Kuhn ...
Auctioneer
...
George
Alicia Van Couvering ...
Bernadette
...
Scout who stays outside
...
Scout who goes in
...
Bill Mooney, scout
...
David Wark
...
Eugene
...
...
Peg
...
...
Norman Venable at Replacements, Ltd.
Beth Bostic ...
Lucille, the neighbor
...
Sissy, David Wark's sister
Edit

Storyline

Successful Carolinian George Johnsten meets Chicago art gallery owner Madeleine at an electoral benefit art auction- love at first sight. Madeleine decides to meet a Southern original artist, so George seizes the opportunity to come along and present her to his North Carolina parents Eugene and Peg, drop-out brother Johhny and his high-pregnant wife Ashley. Confronting the outsider soon opens a can of worms as emotions revive or emerge, like admiration and jealousy. Written by KGF Vissers

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

22 February 2006 (Belgium)  »

Also Known As:

Gundelj  »

Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$74,739 (USA) (5 August 2005)

Gross:

$2,678,010 (USA) (2 December 2005)
 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Ashley's monologue about cheer leading and meerkats was used for Amy Adams's audition. The scene was also later used on the talk-show circuit when Adams was promoting the film. See more »

Goofs

When Madeleine is having her nails done, her right and left legs are crossed in different shots. See more »

Quotes

Madeleine: Did they sign a contract?
Bernadette: It wasn't clear; all I know is they were obviously influenced by someone's, you know, high-falutin' talkin'.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A list of 121 extras is included in the credits, although these credits are given separately from the cast list, after most of the crew credits have been shown. See more »

Connections

Featured in 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Harmour Love
Written by Stevie Wonder
Performed by Syreeta
Courtesy of Motown Records
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

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User Reviews

 
A Prodigal Son Has More Baggage At Home Than He Brings With Him
13 August 2005 | by (Queens, NY) – See all my reviews

"Junebug" is a ruefully sweet, clear-eyed take on the going home genre that usually takes the form of prodigal child returning due to a funeral or serious illness with guilt hanging in the air until it ignites an explosion.

Instead, debut writer Angus MacLachlan has brought "George" home to North Carolina as a coincidence of his new wife's job and life has gone on without him and will continue when he's gone again.

Debut director Phil Morrison does a lovely job of visually establishing how each person in the family has staked out their physical space and roles within the family, even as sounds and light uncomfortably carry through the walls and beyond the rooms. I haven't seen every inch of a normal house used as a movie setting so intensively since "The Brothers McMullen," complete with blowing up an air mattress in the nursery.

Those scenes contrast with how different the family members are outside that house, such as the sullen, angry brother (Benjamin McKenzie) perking up comfortably with his fellow warehouse workers and "George" easily fitting back into a church service.

While the usual is to have the spouse's estranged family be colorfully ethnic or straight-laced WASP as a comic contrast, a la the "Meet the Fockers" mode, here they are complicated rural folk and are not condescended to, even as no good deed goes unpunished. Both sides receive their share of mockery and sympathy from the story; everyone's hypocrisy and humanity are revealed and at least two scenes bring tears to the eyes, one touching and the other sad.

While everyone is speaking English, the miscommunications abound, though it is a bit heavy-handed to have the English-bred wife coach the brother on "Huckleberry Finn," let alone her bizarre negotiations with a probably crazy local artist. Each either takes a comment too literally or misinterprets passive aggressive silences; what people don't say comes to be more important than what they do say, as even Amy Adams' wonderfully chatty character is warm-heartedly mature and caring.

The big, annoying weakness of the film, and keeps it from being a satisfying film, is the vague character of the prodigal son. While it seems that his older, folk art collecting wife probably lusted after him at first sight because he was the first cute straight guy who walked into her gallery (and I assume there is some significance that he buys the painting that doesn't make him happy), their quickie marriage seem to be based only on newlywed randiness, as everything seems to turn them on. Taking after his father busy woodworking away in the basement, he pretty much sloths out in the house or car, so it is confusing hypocrisy when he suddenly steps up to the plate in an emergency, accuses his wife of not putting family first and then bails on the follow up.

Alessandro Nivola well portrays a literal golden boy who is, of course, his mother's heart's delight and in her eyes can do no wrong (even he acknowledges that his new wife is bound to discover his faults), though people who have different positions in their families may interpret the sibling behaviors in different ways. But the film only shows us how people react to him and very little about him other than his casual sense of entitlement, though the mostly silent guy to guy communication is realistic.

Other than one superbly beautiful hymn sung by Nivola (he also sang well as rock star in "Laurel Canyon"), the soundtrack does not take the T. Bone Burnett traditional songs approach, but instead has a score by Hoboken, NJ's own Yo La Tengo that doesn't take sides between the country or the big city.


71 of 97 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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