Wednesday, September 26, 2007


Wow. Just wow. If you haven't seen Phil Morrison's terrific independent film JUNEBUG, seek it out on DVD immediately. It's a little gem. Working for a beautifully observed and sensitive script by Angus McLachlan, Morrison weaves a sad, funny, dark little tale of Southern familial dysfunction that will make you cringe one moment and laugh out loud the next. Never condescending or at any point making fun of the characters, Morrison's subtle direction works perfectly with McLachlan's lived-in portrait of Southern values and lifestyles. The story revolves around a guy named George, played by Allesandro Nivola, who takes a trip down south with his wife Madeleine, played by Embeth Davidtz. She's an art dealer specializing in offbeat pieces who is drawn to the incredibly weird paintings of a racist and possibly crazy artist, who also happens to live near her husband's family. Having only been married for six months and having never met his family, Madeleine is taken back by the culture shock of staying with his family and his brooding, sullen brother Johnny, played by Benjamin McKenzie. The ensemble cast is perfection all down the line. Amy Adams is astonishing as Johnny's immature pregnant wife; it's a performance that is so believeable you'll be convinced it's not really acting. Geroge's mother, who almost instantly disapproves of Madeleine, is played by the great Celia Weston. And character actor Scott Wilson is George's quiet, wood-working father. I don't want to reveal any plot points or spoil anything in this little film. Bottom line, it's funny and sad and well paced and a quirky little dramedy that you should discover.

Here is Roger Ebert's rave review of the film, which I think is pretty accurate:

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