"God loves you just the way you are. But He loves you too much to let you stay that way."You know the saying, you can take the man out of the south but you can't take the south out of the man? Well that's a lesson George Johnsten, played by Alessandro Nivola, had to learn the hard way in Junebug, which follows a North Carolina-raised man who fled to Chicago to escape the drab mediocrity he felt his modest southern family was all too acquainted with. He meets and falls in love with Madeleine, an English art gallery owner whose sophisticated style was the perfect cure for his southern blues. He thinks he's now become this bonafide city dweller. But one impromptu trip back down south on the way to meet a potential client for his wife's gallery, quickly reminds him of where he came from.
You can call Junebug an unwanted, but much needed homecoming, mostly celebrated by the hearty welcome of George's sister-in-law Ashley Johnsten, played by Amy Adams. With a heart of gold, Adams lights up the screen as the bubbly mommy-to-be who becomes intrigued by the newly donned family member's sophistication unmatched by anyone she'd ever met. Her unabashed loneliness peaks through as her story slowly unravels, unveiling her strained relationship with her husband, George's brother, and her struggle to keep smiling as the world around her crashes down.
On his short visit home, George's skeletons come flying out of the closet--his prickly relationship with his brother, played by Ben McKenzie, and his struggle to escape his southern roots--much to the surprise of his new wife. But he ultimately learns that no matter where he lives, his family is with him anywhere, and he needs them just as much as they need him.
Junebug is available on DVD.
My rating: B+