Madeline (Embeth Davidtz) and George Johnsten (Alessandro Nivola) are newlyweds who visit George's family in the country side of North Carolina. Even though the main purpose of Madeline’s visit is to get the rare painter David Wark (Frank Hoyt Taylor) to her outside gallery in Chicago, she sees this opportunity to know the Johnsten family. They meet the two couples who are George’s parents Eugene (Scott Wison) and Peg (Celia Weston) and George’s younger brother Johnny (Benjamin Mckenzie) with his pregnant wife Ashley (Amy Adams). Put together these culturally and traditionally opposite couples to view kaleidoscope of strained and complex relationship of this era.
Peg is the typical mother who thinks no one can replace her place with respect to showing love to her son. The mellowed and pricking off hand diplomatic remarks here and there to nudge her daughter in law brings out the everyday incident of any family in any country. She tightens herself into this invisible medium of fake personality of being strong and rigid. Complimenting her is the terse and calm Eugene who solaces himself in his wood work. The viewers associate themselves into those particular roles but take a step backward when it seems negative. This is when everyone for one knows the actions of the people are wrong and do not want to associate to those characters, but the fact is denying the truth. The movie makes it to realize and understand the mistakes of the current human value system. The instance of Madeline opting business over human quotient depicts the materialistic life of city, while Johnny, the young immature kid who finds it hard to place himself in front of his financially successful brother giving the unawareness of the village life. And Peg being judgmental and sedated into the conservative universe of her own giving the era soaked in ego forming blocks to listen and learn. With all these strange characters comes their better half that works out the relationship and maintains the equilibrium of humanism.
Amy Adams fills the screen as Ashley with her charm, naïve, and innocent, cute talking making the viewers fall in love with this country girl immediately who got nominated for the 2006 Academy Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role. Emberth Davidtz as the cosmopolitan wife makes a nice image of hospitable yet distant in a family. Scott Wilson and Celia Weston bring out the marriage of social obligation by Peg and Eugene realistically. Alessandro and Benjamin provide the poles apart characteristics of understanding and matured George with a confused and frustrated Johnny, respectively.
Cinematography provides the right balance in between independent movie outlook with down the skin realistic images of North Carolina country sides. The shots of showing the images of interiors of Johnsten’s house as soon as the city couple have their initial entry is novel in approach, because the viewers get to know the different rooms and its limitations acoustically and visually to get the right feel of it.
“Junebug” is not an attempt to give the slice of how different the various generation is but it is the summation of those and how there is one member in a relationship working very hard while a mere nod of other makes it blooming and intriguing. The movie handles the viewers’ prediction of who will confide to whom in a surprising manner. At the end of everything, Johnny is ready to give the relationship another shot, Madeline is ready to accept her mistakes and move on while the old couple is where there is no completion. This is not an unintentional open end but basically giving the generation tied up in the past traditions. They decide to finish their life as it is since they feel it is too late to change. The director even though provides the reality, if there would have been a mark of effort from the old couple to work out the gap in between them and the others, it would have been more fulfilling. Yet, that is my personal ending which may not go well with the original and true picture of “Junebug”.