Junebug

"Weak"

Junebug Review


"Junebug" has received much praise since its debut at the Sundance Film Festival, and I don't understand a bit of it.

A returning-home drama centered on a artsy newlywed couple (Alessandro Nivola and Embeth Davidtz) from Chicago visiting the Southern family of folksy, dysfunctional, uncommunicative, bump-on-a-log suburban rednecks from which the husband fled several years ago, it's a dreary, stagnant story about people who make no effort to think or grow.

Director Phil Morrison certainly nails the film's atmosphere with simple, static shots of empty spaces that capture the humid North Carolina pace of life, and he offers up fantastic little moments of body language that speak volumes about various characters. But when the characters are as chronically useless and emotionally stunted as this bunch, it's darn near impossible to care.

George (Nivola) is uncomfortable being home, where he probably never belonged, but despite saying that family "means something," he hardly speaks to anyone -- even his wife -- during the trip, so there's no way to invest in him as a character. Madeleine (Davidtz) is trying very hard to be liked despite not fitting in at all, since she's a phony, upscale art dealer who specializes in fad-driven "outsider art" created by hillbillies, nutcases, and other clueless innocents not conscious of their supposed "talents." She spends half the movie pursuing a gallery deal with an uneducated bigot who paints scenes of racial violence that feature giant phalluses.

She may be sophisticated, but she's not bright enough to keep away from Johnny (Benjamin McKenzie from "The O.C."), George's bitter, angry, irresponsible younger brother, who seeks short-cuts for everything in life and assumes Madeleine is coming onto him when she offers to help with an assignment for a community college class. Neither can she get away from Ashley (Amy Adams from "Catch Me If You Can"), Johnny's sweet, earnest, angelic, utter simpleton of a motor-mouthed young wife, who is eight months pregnant (she thought it would solve relationship problems) and desperate for a girlfriend to talk with about husbands and babies while they "play beauty parlor."

And don't even get me started on George's passive-aggressive, pointlessly bristly mother (Celia Weston) and witlessly taciturn father (Scott Wilson), whose inept parenting clearly gave rise to this insufferable brood.

With their utter lack of affection (save chirpy Ashley), love, measured communication, or anything else remotely resembling healthy relationships, spending 107 minutes with these twits is akin to psychological torture. However, I suppose the very fact that I hated them all so much speaks to the authenticity of the acting, which really is above reproach. The entire cast gives very convincing performances as the kind of ignorant, small-minded, psychologically puerile, and socially bereft people I think the world would be better without.



Junebug

Facts and Figures

Run time: 106 mins

In Theaters: Wednesday 22nd February 2006

Box Office USA: $2.4M

Distributed by: Sony Pictures Classics

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 86%
Fresh: 110 Rotten: 18

IMDB: 7.0 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Starring: as George, as Ashley, as Madeleine, as Peg, as Eugene, Ben McKenzie as Johnny

Also starring:

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

The BFG Movie Review

The BFG Movie Review

For his adaptation of the Roald Dahl classic, Steven Spielberg reunited with screenwriter Melissa Mathison,...

Finding Dory Movie Review

Finding Dory Movie Review

It's been 13 years since the release of the Disney/Pixar hit Finding Nemo, and filmmaker...

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

Star Trek Beyond Movie Review

This is where the Star Trek franchise officially shifts from thoughtful drama into thunderous action....

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

Ice Age: Collision Course Movie Review

With its fifth feature-length adventure, this franchise continues its preposterous journey at full tilt. As...

Keanu Movie Review

Keanu Movie Review

An entertaining hybrid of satirical comedy and action thriller, this madcap adventure swerves wildly between...

Ghostbusters Movie Review

Ghostbusters Movie Review

It's been more than 30 years since the Ghostbusters first hit the big screen with...

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

Now You See Me 2 Movie Review

While the original 2013 magical caper was a big hit, it's style-over-substance approach didn't exactly...

Advertisement
The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

The Legend of Tarzan Movie Review

It's been nearly 30 years since the last live-action Tarzan movie, and yet it still...

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

Maggie's Plan Movie Review

A New York comedy with vivid characters and a contrived plot, this feels rather a...

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Movie Review

Nearly 25 years after the sitcom debuted, Edina and Patsy arrive on the big screen...

Central Intelligence Movie Review

Central Intelligence Movie Review

After teaming up with Will Ferrell for Get Hard and Ice Cube for two Ride...

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

The Colony [Colonia] Movie Review

Based on a true story, this Chilean drama has a chilling edge to it that's...

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Independence Day: Resurgence Movie Review

Two decades is a long time to wait for a sequel, especially one starring much...

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

Elvis & Nixon Movie Review

This movie is based on a real meeting between Elvis Presley and Richard Nixon in...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.