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Junebug (2005)

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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.

Director:

Phil Morrison
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 21 wins & 27 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Embeth Davidtz ... Madeleine
David Kuhn David Kuhn ... Auctioneer
Alessandro Nivola ... George
Alicia Van Couvering Alicia Van Couvering ... Bernadette
Jerry Minor ... Scout who stays outside
Matt Besser ... Scout who goes in
Will Oldham ... Bill Mooney, scout
Frank Hoyt Taylor ... David Wark
Scott Wilson ... Eugene
Ben McKenzie ... Johnny
Celia Weston ... Peg
Amy Adams ... Ashley
Bobby Tisdale ... Norman Venable at Replacements, Ltd.
Beth Bostic Beth Bostic ... Lucille, the neighbor
Joanne Pankow ... Sissy, David Wark's sister
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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 Johny 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:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

16 September 2005 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Gundelj See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$74,739, 7 August 2005, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$2,678,691, 8 December 2005

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$3,399,228
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The company (Replacements Ltd.) where Johnny (Ben McKenzie) works is a real company in McLeansville, North Carolina. The company sells pieces from rare or discontinued china, crystal, and silverware patterns out of their warehouse and through the mail; the section of the movie filmed there used the company's real order processing department as a practical location. See more »

Goofs

When Madeline is trying to convince David Wark to sign with her company, he takes his painting off her to get closer and to talk to her, the scene cuts to a shot over her shoulder where she is seen to still be holding the painting. See more »

Quotes

Madeleine: [Madeleine is helping Johnny with his book report on Huckleberry Finn] Their relationship is Huck's gradual love affair with this slave is a major theme...
Johnny Johnsten: Wa-wa-wait, they fall in love with each other? I don't think you're talking about the right book...
[laughs nervously]
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Crazy Credits

No start credits. See more »

Connections

Featured in At the Movies: Episode #3.20 (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Softly and Tenderly
Traditional
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User Reviews

 
There's a magic to Junebug that's nearly impossible to describe
7 September 2005 | by samseescinemaSee all my reviews

Junebug Reviewed by Sam Osborn of www.samseescinema.com

Rating: 3.5 out of 4

There's a magic to Junebug that's nearly impossible to describe with words. To explain it literally would be to describe a slow, mundane, and worthless story. But, of course, there's much more to Junebug than a story that's slow, mundane and worthless. Iconic independent director Phil Morrison's film takes a patient and immersive look at small town life. There's a profound harmony at work between the characters that, from my experience with small town family in relatives' homes, seems to be true to reality. All at once each character is happy and unhappy with their situation and with everyone surrounding them. There's pain, but within the pain is deep-rooted happiness and content. And when a foreigner enters the home as new family, we the audience are meant to take the foreigner's perspective.

After meeting George (Alessandro Nivola) at her art gallery's auction, Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) finds herself married to the man after little over a week. Months later she travels into a rural suburbia of South Carolina to meet with the peculiar and absurdly profound artist David Wark (Frank Hoyt Taylor), and also to meet for the first time her new family. Unfamiliar with the family's southern lifestyle, she enters the house with the open mind unique only to artists. Immediately embraced by the lonely Ashley (Amy Adams), whose relationship to Johnny (Benjamin McKenzie) has yielded a seemingly unhappy pregnancy and lonely marriage, Madeleine is equally repelled by the mother and leader of the household, Peg (Celia Weston). Each couple (the parents, Ashley and Johnny, and Madeleine and George) sleeps in a separate room, divided only by paper thin walls that do little to contain sound, making nights into festivals of eavesdropping. The unborn baby, Junebug, has a room all to herself, seeming to hold all hope that is left for happiness in the family.

In most films where a foreigner enters a deep-rooted household, the story usually loses itself with the dramatic changes the foreigner brings. But Phil Morrison thankfully avoids this cliché and instead lets our foreigner simply observe. There's actually a sequence dedicated entirely to the observation of each room in the home, where we, like the foreigner, are meant to find all the charming nuances of the house's decoration. Meticulous details are fully realized, with the placement of the cigarettes, the oddly shaped and colored lampshades, the material of the couches, and every tiny element of this lifestyle that may be new to all us "city folk." The foreigner actually has as little power over the family as the audience does. Instead of her acting as the catalyst for the family's change, the title character, Junebug, who's kicking and growing within Ashley's stomach holds this power. It's an affective storytelling method that allows us to connect with the foreigner, Madeleine, and consequently, find ourselves immersed further into Junebug's intimate tale.

In a story as quiet and intimate as Junebug, it's imperative that body language plays as much a role as dialogue. The cast must exude emotions past words and extend their skills to inhabit their characters completely. Each actor achieves this rare performance, particularly Amy Adams and Benjamin McKenzie, playing Ashley and Johnny. Their marriage has a unique understanding to it that's difficult for the audience to grasp until the end. But when we realize their situation, the nuances of their performances are blissfully revealed.

Conventional laws of cinema rarely allow small town life to be realistically portrayed. The calm, resonating harmony that resides in the lifestyle doesn't offer much in the way of excitement. I suppose it requires the confidence of an independent distributor and the eye and pen of a wonderful director and screenwriter. Phil Morrison and Angus MacLachlan's collaboration here with Junebug offers up this unique portrait with nothing but extreme and satisfying clarity.

-Sam Osborn of www.samseescinema.com


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