Junebug (2005) - Plot Summary Poster



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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.

  • 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.

  • Following a short week-long courtship, upscale Chicagoans George and Madeleine get married. Six months into their marriage, Madeleine, the owner curator of an art gallery specializing in the works of self-taught artists, has the chance to sign David Wark, a yet unknown artist who lives in rural North Carolina. Madeleine and George use the opportunity of Madeleine to meet with Wark personally to visit George's southern fundamentalist Christian family, who also live in rural North Carolina, a half hour away from Wark. This visit will be Madeleine's first meeting with George's family, who consists of: his quiet father, woodworker Eugene; his quietly but still obviously disapproving mother, Peg; his deadbeat and always angry brother, Johnny; and Johnny's nine month pregnant wife, the upbeat Ashley, who tries to see the good in everything. Despite having nothing in common on the surface with his southern roots, George still loves his family. And Madeleine wants so much for George's family to like her, despite their obvious differences. These differences may become an issue for their marriage, especially as Madeleine has problems in her negotiations with Wark, and as Johnny and Ashley deal with their own marital and family issues.

  • A dealer in outsider art threatens the equilibrium of her middle-class in-laws in North Carolina. Madeline is a go-getting art gallery owner from Chicago, recently married to George, a near-perfect Southern beau. When Madeline needs to close a deal with a reclusive North Carolina artist, George introduces her to his family: prickly mother Peg, taciturn father Eugene, cranky brother Johnny, and Johnny's pregnant, childlike wife Ashley, who is awe-struck by her glamorous sister-in-law. Madeline's presence exposes the fragile family dynamics as hidden resentments and anxieties surface.


The synopsis below may give away important plot points.


  • When newlywed Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz), an art dealer, travels from Chicago to North Carolina to pursue a local, self-taught painter (Frank Hoyt Taylor) for her outsider art gallery she takes the opportunity to meet her husband George's (Alessandro Nivola) family, who live close by.

    There's his flinty, judgmental mother Peg (Celia Weston); his reserved, contemplative father Eugene (Scott Wilson); and his sullen, resentful, twenty-ish brother Johnny (Benjamin McKenzie) who, although married, still lives at home, and is studying for his high school equivalence certificate while working at Replacements, Ltd. as an order processor. Johnny married his wife, Ashley, before either of them finished high school. Relations between Johnny and Ashley are strained, with Ashley believing that a baby will solve their marital problems. Madeleine and George stay in the baby's nursery and she becomes friends with Johnny's pregnant young wife Ashley (Amy Adams), a very sweet and friendly, if somewhat naive and talkative girl. The family take Madeline to a church service and she attends Ashley's baby shower. Madeleine discovers that she does not know much about George, as they have been married only six months, and knew each other only a week before they got married. George's strong Southern family values come through.

    The artist Madeleine is trying to sign wavers over signing with her gallery. Ashley goes in to labor, and the family goes to the hospital with her, but Madeleine chooses to go and convince the artist to sign with her gallery, which makes George angry. Ashley's baby boy is stillborn. She tells George she was going to name it "Junebug". George and Madeleine leave to go back to Chicago.

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