Director: Phil Morrison
Likening the film to an allegorical depiction of our divided red-state/blue-state identities following the last presidential election, critics heaped praise all over Phil Morrion’s slightly overrated but intriguing character study, Junebug. When the sophisticated, brainy, beautiful and ever-so-worldly yankee Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) catches sight of sweet, handsome, southerner George (Alessandro Nivola), they fall quickly into a whirlwind courtship resulting in marriage after just one week. Six months later, while tracking down a reclusive, eccentric painter of abstract scenes from the Civil War, the couple visits George’s family in North Carolina. While his parents react to George’s slightly older, posh new British accented bride with some reservation, his bubbly pregnant sister-in-law Ashley (Oscar nominated Amy Adams) takes to her at once with an over-abundance of affection, enthusiasm and mile-a-minute conversation that manages to steal viewer’s hearts in the process. With original music from Yo La Tengo (save for Syreeta’s addictive rendition of "Harmour Love," which bookends the film), Junebug was a major success at Sundance, earning the lovely Adams an award and thankfully garnering her more exposure and roles, including a recent comedic turn as Will Ferrell’s love interest in Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby and a small role in an earlier season of NBC’s The Office. Overall, Junebug is a bittersweet study of the culture clash of seemingly foreign regions of our diverse country that manages to illustrate our varied lifestyles and differences as well as the similar values of family and love. While I wasn’t bowled over like most reviewers, the film is made a must-see by the wonderful portrayal by Amy Adams. Note: Fans of Fox’s soon-to-be-canceled The O.C. won’t want to miss Ben McKenzie’s turn as the gruff, indifferent husband to Adams’s peppy Ashley.