Friday, March 17, 2006
Junebug doesn’t have any explosions or car chases. It just barely has a plot. A guy named George, who’s from North Carolina, meets a cosmopolitan chick named Madeline in Chicago, and they get married. His family doesn’t attend the wedding. When Madeline, who’s an art dealer, wants to go to North Carolina to try to sign a folk artist there, they decide to pay a visit to George’s family: George’s father, mother, brother, and sister-in-law. The visit is what the movie is about.
This ain’t Mayberry. Madeline doesn’t learn any lessons about the goodness of the slow-paced life. I’m not sure anybody learns much of anything, and that includes the audience, which never really learns how George feels about his family until the movie’s last line, and I’m not sure if we learn then. Every member of the family is closed in, and nobody communicates with anybody else, except for the sister-in-law, played by Amy Adams. She’s open and eager for someone to talk to, someone to emulate, someone to tell her things. She lights up the screen every time she’s on, and she pretty much steals the movie. It’s no wonder she was nominated for an Oscar.
There are some great lines in the movie, some careful observations of life in a small town. I’ve never been to North Carolina, but I felt right at home. In some ways, that could have been my family in Mexia, Texas, up there on the screen. Some of the movie’s funny, some of it’s sad, some of it’s hard to figure. It’s slow-paced, and some might find it drags. Not me. I enjoyed every minute of it. The next time you don’t need a car chase to get your adrenaline moving, check it out.