Junebug - Review
Review by Jack Foley
DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Full length audio commentary with the stars of the film Amy Adams and Embeth Davidtz • Amy Adams interview and Q & A session in London, recorded in March 2006 • Ten deleted scenes • Five behind the scenes documentaries • Original casting sessions (Amy Adams, Ben McKenzie) • Ann Wood Art Gallery
AMY Adams turned many heads when she secured a surprise Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in the quirky indie drama, Junebug, but now that it’s arrived on DVD it’s easy to see why.
Adams elevates an otherwise mundane dysfunctional family drama into something far more worthwhile, positively radiating naivety and warmth as a heavily-pregnant wife.
Phil Morrison’s movie focuses on newlyweds Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) and George (Alessandro Nivola) as they head out to North Carolina from Chicago in search of an eccentric artist that gallery owner Madeleine is hoping to exhibit.
En route, they decide to call in on George’s family for the first time – but while his sister-in-law Ashley (Adams) is over the moon to meet them, the rest of his family aren’t quite so sure.
The ensuing film slowly exposes the tensions that exist between the various family members that eventually come to a head following a medical emergency involving Ashley’s unborn child.
Included among the family members is George’s frustrated under-achieving brother, Johnny (Ben McKenzie), who has become detached from his wife, Ashley, as well as his mother and father (the latter of whom silently seaks refuge in the comfort of his garage).
While certainly slow to unfold, Morrison’s film is the sort of arthouse experience that rewards the patient viewer. Nothing is spelt out and viewers have to do a certain amount of work to appreciate everything it has to say.
And while certainly sombre in tone, there’s still plenty to enjoy from the vitality injected by Adams. She is like a breath of fresh air whenever on-screen and continually walks away with the film’s best moments – whether trying to make instant friends with Madeleine or sharing quiet moments with George.
It is Ashley’s story arc, more than anyone’s, that will leave the biggest impression and ensures that Junebug isn’t easily forgotten once it has been viewed.
Had the film enjoyed a bigger budget, who knows how many awards Adams might have been showered with.