out of Five
Running time: 107
Enjoyable, offbeat indie flick with a terrific script and superb performances from its cast – this is one of the best films of the year.
What’s it all about?
Embeth Davidtz plays Madeleine, a gallery owner in Chicago who has recently married George (Alessandro Nivola) after a whirlwind romance. When her job takes her down to rural North Carolina in order to see the work of weird reclusive artist David Wark (Frank Hoyt Taylor), George suggests that they visit his family.
However, his mother (Celia Weston) is less than friendly towards Madeleine, his father (Scott Wilson) is more preoccupied with other things and his brother Johnny (Ben McKenzie) is openly hostile towards him. Only his heavily pregnant sister-in-law Ashley (an award-winning comic performance by Amy Adams) welcomes both him and Madeleine with open arms.
Junebug is a beautifully written, relatively low budget indie flick that only received funding because of the presence of The O.C’s Ben McKenzie. Directed by Phil Morrison, it also features a great soundtrack, courtesy of Yo La Tengo.
The set-up of the film sounds fairly generic, but the mood of the film lifts it out of the ordinary. There’s a constant tension in the air, as if the characters could make catastrophic decisions at any moment but the film consistently surprises you by upturning the expected cliches.
The performances are superb, particularly Frank Hoyt Taylor, who’s utterly convincing as the race-obsessed artist. However, it’s Amy Adams who steals the show – her performance is warm, funny and heartbreaking.
In short, Junebug is an unmissable, multi-layered film that’s unlike anything else you’ll see all year. Highly recommended.