North-South, North Carolina: The Movie, “Junebug”

In the 2005 Junebug, the appallingly vulgar art of a Southern crank brings Chicago art dealer Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz), with her odd taste, to North Carolina to make him an offer.  Madeleine travels there with her Southern-born husband George (Alessandro Nivola) and meets his commonplace family.  A lot of decency and a lot of indecency are thrown her way, in a locus of little understanding, even in Madeleine herself, and much disappointment.  George’s sister-n-law Ashley (Amy Adams), for example, doesn’t understand her terrible excuse for a husband–Johnny by name (Benjamin McKenzie)—but Johnny doesn’t seem to understand why he has made the choice of impregnating and marrying a naïve girl.  He’s loutish, but we pity him (because screenwriter Angus MacLachlan pities him).

Phil Morrison, the inventive director, has an itch to scrutinize this Carolina milieu, and he lets many of its suburban sights sink in as we watch.  A focused movie, this, and at the same time a rather casual one.  Compassionate too.

Cover of "Junebug"

Cover of Junebug

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