Amy Adams, do I know you from somewhere?
Previously well-received when shown at Edinburgh International Film Festival last year, 'Junebug' returns for a wider release, backed up by a string of awards - including the fillip of a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Amy Adams. The film marks the cinematic debut for writer Angus McLachlan and director Phil Morrison and ostensibly revolves around the culture clash, perceived or otherwise, between the traditional rural society of southern USA, and the fast-paced city slickers of the north.
Embeth Davidtz plays Madeleine, the sophisticated art dealer visiting the rural backwater that is home to her husband George's (Allesandro Nivola) family. Ambitious Madeleine is there for the coup of her career, to sign for her art gallery a new outsider artist (Frank Hoyt Taylor), a painter who reproduces scenes from the War of Northern Aggression in which the soldiers shoot each other with their giant penises. However the main event is her collision with George's aggressively unrefined clan, leading to many incidents of confusion, bewilderment and inadvertent humour. And whilst family conflict is an oft-used comedy template in American film, 'Junebug's funny moments are far more 'Pieces of April' than 'Meet the Fockers'.
The movie has been praised for its perceived championing of rural life, those quiet, simple virtues too often mocked by the so-called cultural elite. In reality, it does more to reveal the complexity of interpersonal relationships, regardless of lifestyle or background. The glue that seems to bind this movie though, is the indefatigable energy and optimism of George's sister-in-law Ashley (Amy Adams).
30 year-old Adams unquestionably falls into the "Do I know you from somewhere?" category, having paid her dues with guest appearances (usually as a one-dimensional beauty) on a number of TV shows including 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', 'That '70s Show', 'The West Wing' and the US version of 'The Office'. She landed her first film role in the satiric 1999 comedy 'Drop Dead Gorgeous', and featured in 'Catch Me If You Can', alongside Leonardo Di Caprio. Now however, she shoots up the billing in Will Ferrell's forthcoming NASCAR comedy, 'Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby' and the lead role as a cartoon princess in Kevin Lima's 'Enchanted'. The junebug of the title is a pretty insect which can only survive the summer months. Discarding her 'Just another Pretty Face' routine means that Adams could well turn out to be an actress for all seasons.
Junebug is released on April 14.http://www.sonyclassics.com/junebug/