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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 21.67%
Average: 16.67%
Pretty Bad: 1.67%
Total Crap: 1.67%

5 reviews, 30 user ratings

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by Chris Parry

"There was no better performance at Sundance than Amy Adams in Junebug"
5 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2005 SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL: Sometimes a film comes along where everything clicks - the performances, the dialogue, the direction, the storyline - it's just all impeccable. Other times, one of those factors raises up so many levels that it drowns everything else out and takes over. In Junebug, everything is great - no question about it - but one element chews up the screen and carpet bombs the audience for attention... that element is Amy Adams, delivering a performance that, should the film be released at the right time and given the kind of release it deserves, should be spoken of highly at Oscar time.

Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) is an art dealer who has found her reason to be.. and a husband too. She's discovered a weird, idiot savant artist in rural North Carolina, who she's sure will turn the art world on its head and make a huge name for her. Coincidentally, he lives not far from the family of Madeliene's husband (Alessandro Nivola), a group of down-home God-fearing folks (Celia Weston and Ben Gazzara) who don't quite gel with Madeleine's big city ways. Primary amongst these disagreeable homebodies is brother Johnny (Ben McKenzie), a clueless, angry young man, working in an awful job, and stuck in a relationship with Ashley, a child-like girl he doesn't seem to love very much (Amy Adams), but who is eight months pregnant and smitten with her man.

What follows is a clash of country and city, college education and rural wisdom, devotion to art and devotion to family... but none of that matters a damn. All that matters is Amy Adams and her bravura performance as the child in adult's clothing that is Ashley. Adams does such a great job with this character, she's so funny and sad and perky and desperate, that I felt myself, despite the fact that Ashley is the opposite of what I'd ever be attracted to, wanting to go save the girl from this rural hell. She embodies everything great about fearless love, while also encapsulating the hell that is being stuck in a relationship with someone who you know doesn't like you like in the same way you like them.

She. Is. Incredible.

What's incredible about this is that director Phil Morrison, in weaving an amazing tale of the clashing of cultures, does not have a background in such fare. In fact, he's directed TV for Nickelodeon and Comedy Central, and a couple of music videos before that - but not a darn thing that would warn you that his debut on the big screen, Junebug, would be a tour de force. To be sure, Adams is the jewel in the crown, but there isn't a step put wrong with anyone else in this film, from Davidtz's driven city girl to McKenzie's terminally pissed little brother. Gazarra barely speaks five words, but his face speaks volumes, and Celia Weston is as ornery as she is talented.

It's just a damn good film, the kind you wish the film industry was equipped to get in front of millions of people. Unfortunately, it isn't, and thus Junebug will end up where so many greta pieces of Americana have before it - on Lifetime or Showtime or the bottom shelf of a Netflix warehouse. More's the pity - you really should hunt this one down.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 02/12/05 09:12:39
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Seattle Film Festival For more in the 2005 Seattle Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

9/18/17 Anne Selby worth a look-average 3 stars
5/22/15 David Hollingsworth Quirky, smart, and a film that is absolutely endearing 5 stars
10/02/07 Chris V I feel vindicated by your review. Amy Adams was exquite and perhaps worth the trouble. 3 stars
8/11/07 Barb One of the best I've seen. Subtle, moving, true. 5 stars
8/05/07 fools♫gold Not too bad, but is it really so fantastic? 4 stars
4/22/07 Mac Dude! Ben Gazarra is NOT in this flick! 5 stars
3/07/07 Frank Rountree Good God! What a hideous movie, total crap!!! 1 stars
8/28/06 Anastasia Lawrence moving 5 stars
8/23/06 Alice Derfler Is Amy Adams related to Celie Watson? 5 stars
8/17/06 Mary Beth memorable 5 stars
6/29/06 Jay Offbeat little character study with a great cast. Worth the rental. 4 stars
6/11/06 Brian O'Neill I agree with you. So lovely to find a film that knows the SUBTLETY of family dynamics! 5 stars
5/30/06 shania delorme BENJMIN MCKENZIE IS THE HOTTEST MAN EVER 5 stars
5/23/06 TxGirlNBoston worth watching, characters are great, good movie 4 stars
4/16/06 hamilton5258 Great if you like going to the dentist. Good acting. 2 stars
3/23/06 Annie G Not bad if you are looking for some good character sketches, but not a plot. 3 stars
2/24/06 Allyson Holt Like math, the whole equaled the sum of the parts (family), divided by Ashley. 5 stars
2/19/06 Phil M. Aficionado Sorry Aaron Ducat; you could not be more off target; stunning cast/film; so GENUINE in feel 5 stars
1/23/06 Richard Excellent movie, but Ben Gazarra wasn't in it -- that was Scott Wilson. 4 stars
11/04/05 shania delorme BENJAMIN MCKENZIE IS THE HOTTEST GUY EVER 5 stars
10/04/05 Elizabeth S Quite good! Liked that like life, it doesn't resolve all issues. 3 stars
9/25/05 jcjs a perfect movie or as close as ya can get to it 5 stars
9/17/05 lorraine kotraba The acting was superb. It was definitely poking fun at the South. 4 stars
9/06/05 Couldn't agree with you more. Knocked me off my feet! One of the best I've seen ! 5 stars
8/07/05 R. Mintz Great movie. I agrree with your commnets but it's Scott Wilson not Ben Gazzara 5 stars
8/05/05 Mariabbe at times charming, very slow 4 stars
3/27/05 harvey shapiro awesome--wish there were more movies like this! 5 stars
3/04/05 Carla I love this movie!!!!!!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/01/05 Kris Amy Smart is awesome; Embeth Davidtz is also good 4 stars
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  03-Aug-2005 (R)
  DVD: 17-Jan-2006



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