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

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

Advertisement
City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Free Fire Movie Review

Free Fire Movie Review

Basically a 90-minute shoot-out, there isn't a lot to this movie. British filmmaker Ben Wheatley...

Life Movie Review

Life Movie Review

Like a mash-up of Alien and Gravity, this ripping sci-fi horror movie is very effective...

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

The Lost City of Z Movie Review

Based on a true story, it's the historical aspect of these events that holds 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.