Generally favorable reviews - based on 34 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 79 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: When Madeleine (Davidtz), a British-born dealer in regional, "outsider" art, travels from Chicago to North Carolina to pursue a local painter for her gallery, she and her brand-new, younger husband George (Nivola) extend the trip to include an introduction to his family. Madeleine confronts the difficulty of two cultures colliding, and discovers the tumultuous outcome as these separate ways of life must coexist. (Sony Pictures Classics) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 29 out of 34
  2. Negative: 0 out of 34
  1. This low-key drama is a miracle of mood, atmosphere, and sensitivity.
  2. 100
    Ensemble casts like this are not easy to come by. Adams is something more than that -- a brilliant young comedian bursting into bloom.
  3. 90
    Manages to be one of the genuinely fresh discoveries of the summer, a little gem that deserves to become a big sleeper hit.
  4. With its wise understanding of the magnetic pull (and invisible polarities) of family, Junebug is an auspicious debut for Morrison.
  5. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    Not merely a sitcom of cultural clash. Screenwriter Angus Maclachlan has delicately etched a compelling portrait of a way of life whose decencies and simplicities are often dismissed as being "unsophisticated."
  6. 70
    Combining the tragic and the comic, this drama is amateurish in places, but it's a triumph of atmosphere (the makers are both North Carolinians) and the acting is first-rate.
  7. Reviewed by: Bob Westal
    An admirable film, but its charms will be visible only to the most patient filmgoers.

See all 34 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 33 out of 43
  2. Negative: 5 out of 43
  1. RonaldM.
    Apr 4, 2006
    This is a great film. In the tradition of Jean Renior and Robert Altman it captures the nuances of life. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad. It is as unpredictable as life. Expand
  2. janej
    Nov 13, 2005
    Perfect casting. Funny and bittersweet. As an added wonder, the portrait of a genuinely primitive artist.
  3. TimothyD.
    Jan 28, 2006
    Not perfect, but excellent. A complex ensemble piece built around great acting and writing, each character being given the chance to show who they are through finely observed action (or inaction) and dialogue. Top-notch American indie filmmaking. Collapse
  4. BillB.
    Apr 17, 2006
    A second viewing has made me even more appreciative than the first. There is more detail to see and hear than I could absorb in the first sitting. My wife and I have been talking about it for two days, noticing new things and appreciating new thoughts. The women are all strong but in different ways. Family does matter, and we've all got one. What we do is more important than what we say. Love is action more than feeling. This is a special and memorable movie. Expand
  5. DanC.
    Mar 5, 2006
    Thought I'd like it a lot more. My kind of movie, in theory - small, character-driven, slightly off-center. But I found the husband to be a non-entity, and the wife to be a bit of a blank slate as well. Not only weren't the conflicts resolved, they were utterly suppressed - past the point of basic believability. I expected a better film. Amy Adams is wonderful, but everyone else seems to be asleep at the wheel. Expand
  6. MarkB.
    Sep 26, 2005
    Whatever happened to the concept of Southern hospitality? Judging from this rancorous drama from writer Angus Maclachlan and director Phil morrison, both North Carolina expatriates, it's either in very short supply or was never there to begin with. Sophisticated, urbane art dealer Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) travels to her new husband's hometown for the first time both to meet his family and to close a deal with a local folk artist (although not necessarily in that order of priority). Said painter (Frank Hoyt Taylor) is your first tip-off that not everything is moonlight and magnolias in Dixie: he's a racist, bottom-feeding evolutionary throwback with the I.Q. of a mildewed throw rug, and his "art" (which Madeleine fawns over) is a series of blood-and-phallus horrors allegedly depicting the Civil war but far more accurately opening the door way too wide on his dangerously demented psychological state...and I wouldn't decorate my worst enemy's outhouse with them much less a museum. (The character's name, by the way, is David that a not-so-subtle in-joke reference to the director of the Ku Klux Klan-loving silent classic Birth of a Nation?) Things don't get much better for Madeleine; although she's a kind, well-intentioned soul, she's no match for husband George's catty, manipulative mother Peg, addlebrained, screwdriver-fixated dad Eugene, or resentful, embittered slug of a brother Johnny; these family encounters, which poor Madeleine constantly gets the short end of, are filmed by Morrison in a pretentious, coffee-table style that seems to care more about the characters' furniture than the characters themselves; living rooms and hime workshops are dwelt upon in loving (and boring) detail, and at one point the camera fades to black for so long that a couple of my fellow patrons started to get up to inform the usher that something was wrong with the projector! In their treatment of most of George's family, there's no shot too cheap or blow too low for Mclachlan and Harrison; they can't show us Peg being moved to tears at a church service without having her act in a highly hypocritical, nonChristian manner a few scenes later, and they're equally unable to give us a shot of Johnny asleep on the couch without having him drool on the cushion. The one exception to all this Southern-fried venom--and a glorious one it is, and the only reason this film rates a 6--is Amy Adams (Catch Me If You Can) as Johnny's very pregnant wife, Ashley: a woman who's naive but deeply wise in her own way, and who, unlike the rest of the household, possesses no prejudices, preconceived notions or hidden agendas...she's just thrilled beyond belief to meet Madeleine because now she has a new best friend, whose nails she can paint and everything! Adams in this role is nothing short of completely breathtaking: she's hilarious, pathetic, endearing and heartbreaking in equal and simultaneous quantities, and triumphantly counters the long-held (and often true, but not in this case) dramatic postulate that bad characters are more inherently fascinating than good ones. Watch Adams handle a bedroom scene with a high school photo of Ashley and Johnny during happier times--a sequence that by its nature could've gone wrong in a dozen different ways--and you'll see miracles happen. Adams, and to a lesser but still significant degree Davidtz, whose utter generosity and good sportsmanship in allowing Adams to dominate all their scenes adds genuine class to her already formidable trademark loveliness and delicacy, are the ONLY things Junebug has going for it; I can only assume that the amount of love that critics nationwide unanimously (and understandably) have bestowed upon Adams' character and performance has misled them into thinking that this is some kind of balanced, fairminded portrait of the South. New York Times critic Stephen Holden has been quoted prominently in the ads praising Junebug as a perceptive distillation of red state/blue state hostility; on the contrary, it's so harsh on most of the folks below the Mason-Dixon line that it temporarily turns the currently popular Ann Coulter/ Bernard Goldberg/ Michael Medved/ Fox News-promulgated myth of a patronizing, condescending liberal elitist media into a 107-minute reality. Expand
  7. NancyC.
    Apr 29, 2006
    Sinister "Deliverance" meets simpering Melanie Wilkes by way of the lobotomized dysfunction of "The Royal Tennenbaums". A feast of sterotypes and short cuts. C'mon, put a littie effort into it next time. This movie was an insult, I don't care where the director was born. Expand

See all 43 User Reviews