Those of you who escaped from the small town you grew up in and never looked back may want to check out Junebug, a curiously wonderful comedy/drama/whatever set in rural North Carolina. The movie opens with some genuine hollers ' once a means of communicating over hilly terrain, now a means of holding on to the past. And director Phil Morrison, who was born in Winston-Salem, shows a real feeling for the contemporary South, with all its strangely familiar ways of perpetuating itself. A patient man, he's let the movie find its own rhythms. "Where you been?" someone asks. And the reply, when it finally gets there: "Gone."
George (Alessandro Nivola) has been gone for three years, even got married since he left home, to a model-thin British woman (Embeth Davidtz) who runs an art gallery in Chicago. Now it's time to Meet the Parents, who aren't quite the Fockers, but they're close. And they don't know what to make of this Julie Andrews type who's been dropped in their laps. Mom (Celia Weston), who misses George terribly, hates her on sight. Dad (Scott Wilson) busies himself in his workshop. Brother (Ben McKenzie) stews in resentment over his sibling's success. Meanwhile, brother's wife (Amy Adams), a real chatterbox who's starved for affection, does all the talking.
Morrison and scriptwriter Angus MacLachlan could be accused of taking things too far, turning these fine folks into comic grotesques. But thanks to some truly lived-in performances, they get under your skin anyway ' people who are profoundly lost without ever having left home.