2.5 7
Director: Phil Morrison

Cast: Amy Adams, Embeth Davidtz, Benjamin McKenzie


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Phil Morrison, who collaborated with screenwriter Angus MacLachlan for his acclaimed 1990 short, Tater Tomater, joins forces with MacLachlan again for his feature-film debut, Junebug. Junebug takes place in rural North Carolina. Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz), a sophisticated Chicagoan who owns a gallery devoted to "outsider art," goes south in anSee more details below


Phil Morrison, who collaborated with screenwriter Angus MacLachlan for his acclaimed 1990 short, Tater Tomater, joins forces with MacLachlan again for his feature-film debut, Junebug. Junebug takes place in rural North Carolina. Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz), a sophisticated Chicagoan who owns a gallery devoted to "outsider art," goes south in an effort to woo an eccentric painter (Frank Hoyt Taylor) to her gallery. She brings along her husband, George (Alessandro Nivola), a native of the area, and the couple stays with his family. Peg (Celia Weston), George's mother, gives Madeleine a rather chilly greeting, and seems to think she's a poor match for her eldest son, while his father, Eugene (Scott Wilson), is a bit more welcoming, in his quiet way. George's younger brother, Johnny (Ben McKenzie), is still living at home with his very pregnant wife, Ashley (Amy Adams), and seems to feel nothing but resentment for George. For her part, Ashley is a gregarious young woman, and she's immediately smitten with her "new sister." Junebug was selected by the Museum of Modern Art and the Film Society of Lincoln Center for inclusion in the 2005 edition of New Directors/New Films.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
This charming, low-key comedy examines cultural and class differences in a relaxed and endearing way. Not particularly heavy on plot, Junebug contents itself with minor situations and punctilious character sketches to make its points about the chasm between fast-moving urbanites and laid-back rural southerners. Worldly art dealer Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) and her husband, George (Alessandro Nivola), travel to North Carolina, where she hopes to do business with a brilliant but eccentric folk painter. During the journey, Madeleine finally meets her new in-laws, whom George pointedly excluded from the wedding: his skeptical mother, Peg (Celia Weston); his sullen, taciturn father, Eugene (Scott Wilson); and his surly brother, Johnny (The O.C.'s Benjamin McKenzie). The only family member that exhibits genuine warmth for Madeleine is Johnny’s affectionate, enthusiastic, and extremely pregnant wife, Ashley (Amy Adams). Struggling to balance church socials with delicate business negotiations, Madeleine finds that she must choose what matters to her most. As you might imagine, there’s more to the family dynamic than meets the eye, and director Phil Morrison displays a real talent for telling his story with subtle, shrewdly observed details. He handles his actors well, and relative newcomers Adams and McKenzie really light up the screen. At its core Junebug is a delightful little film about the lengths to which we’re prepared to go while juggling love, family, and career; and it takes viewers by surprise.
All Movie Guide - Perry Seibert
Phil Morrison's Junebug has many of the elements expected from American independent films. It is character driven, offers a geographically specific location that is rarely seen in American films, and features lead characters who change in small and possibly, depending on one's appreciation of the film, profound ways. The strengths of the film are in the women. Embeth Davidtz plays Madeline, the sophisticated art dealer visiting the rural backwater that is home to her husband's family. She manages to make a character that should be unsympathetic very empathetic mostly because she does nothing consciously to offend her hosts' sensibilities. Hers is a finely modulated performance. Amy Adams, as the talkative sister-in-law who desires to gain some of Madeline's worldliness, serves up a great performance. The character lacks the prejudice seen in the other characters. Her performance is as open as her character, full of wide-eyed wonder and -- when the time comes -- deeply felt sadness. She portrays all of these emotions without ever sounding a false or actorly note. Where Morrison's film fails is in not clearly defining the role of Madeline's husband, George (Benjamin McKenzie). He seems disinterested and disassociated from everyone and everything except for the few moments when he is deeply engaged in a particular activity or person. Those changes in attitude seem so arbitrary that one is left with the suspicion that the character's ambivalence stems more from the filmmaker's inability to figure him out than from the character himself. While this problem disrupts the overall effect of the film, Adams and Davidtz make Junebug a worthy experience for anyone who appreciates fine acting.
New York Times - Stephen Holden
Junebug envelops us in texture of a world the movies rarely visit.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert

Junebug is a great film because it is a true film. It humbles other films that claim to be about family secrets and eccentricities. It understands that families are complicated and their problems are not solved during a short visit, just in time for the film to end. Families and their problems go on and on, and they aren't solved, they're dealt with.
Slate - David Edelstein
It's hugely entertaining, it's spectacularly acted, and it pricks you in all kinds of places. Maybe the best thing is to see it and let it bug you, too.

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Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:

Special Features

Closed Caption; Deleted scenes; Cast commentary; Behind-the-scenes featurettes; Casting sessions

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Amy Adams Ashley
Embeth Davidtz Madeleine
Benjamin McKenzie Johnny
Alessandro Nivola George
Frank Hoyt Taylor David Wark
Celia Weston Peg
Scott Wilson Eugene
Jill Wagner Shower Guest

Technical Credits
Phil Morrison Director
Mark Bennett Casting
Jeffree Bloomer Sound/Sound Designer
Mark P. Clein Executive Producer
David Doernberg Production Designer
Peter Donahue Cinematographer
Mindy Goldberg Producer
Danielle Kays Costumes/Costume Designer
Joe Klotz Editor
Ethan D. Leder Executive Producer
Angus MacLachlan Screenwriter
Daniel Rappaport Executive Producer
Mike S. Ryan Producer
Dany Wolf Executive Producer
Yo La Tengo Score Composer

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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- Junebug
1. Start [4:48]
2. David Wark [2:36]
3. From a Dream [2:53]
4. Meet the Family [6:19]
5. Homecoming [3:00]
6. Arts & Crafts [7:16]
7. Panther Pride [1:39]
8. Nails [4:29]
9. High-Fallutin' Talking [2:53]
10. Meerkat [3:43]
11. Small Potatoes [2:38]
12. A Little Rusty [6:59]
13. Night Walk [3:15]
14. Huck & Jim [2:41]
15. Misunderstanding [4:39]
16. Lost Screwdriver [2:56]
17. "She's Still... Strange" [3:40]
18. Labor Pains [4:06]
19. A Better Offer [1:33]
20. "It Means Something" [2:41]
21. Wooing Work [5:30]
22. "We Lost Him" [2:55]
23. The Scariest Thing [6:22]
24. So Sorry [1:58]
25. "We're Going" [3:50]
26. Nothing to Worry About [3:51]
27. "Look What I Found" [1:22]
28. "I'm So Glad We're Outta Here" [5:46]


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