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

Jackie Movie Review

Jackie Movie Review

Rather than make a standard biopic about the most famous First Lady in American history,...

Split Movie Review

Split Movie Review

After a few badly received sci-fi blockbusters, M. Night Shyamalan returned to his earthier style...

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

xXx: Return of Xander Cage Movie Review

It's been 15 years since Vin Diesel walked away from his XXX role, killing off...

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

Manchester by the Sea Movie Review

This may not be the cheeriest movie of the season, but it's so skilfully written,...

Live By Night Movie Review

Live By Night Movie Review

Ben Affleck launched his directing career 10 years ago with his film of Dennis Lehane's...

La La Land Movie Review

La La Land Movie Review

After storming awards season with Whiplash two years ago, writer-director Damien Chazelle returns with something...

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Assassin's Creed Movie Review

Hopes were high that this film might finally crack the curse of movies based on...

Advertisement
Silence Movie Review

Silence Movie Review

Faith is a topic Martin Scorsese can't quite shake, courting controversy with complex films like...

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A Monster Calls Movie Review

A difficult movie to market, this isn't actually the BFG-style fantasy adventure it looks like....

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Monster Trucks Movie Review

Word has it that a 4-year-old came up with the idea for this unapologetically silly...

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Collateral Beauty Movie Review

Dramas exploring the nature of death and the true meaning of life are always in...

Paterson Movie Review

Paterson Movie Review

Unpredictable filmmaker Jim Jarmusch ricochets from his artful vampire movie Only Lovers Left Alive into...

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

I, Daniel Blake Movie Review

At 80 years old, British filmmaker Ken Loach won his second Cannes Film Festival with...

Why Him? Movie Review

Why Him? Movie Review

Writer-director John Hamburg continues to recycle the formula that made his first hit Meet the...

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.