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Rated 2.92 stars
by 951 people

ReelTalk Movie Reviews
It Stings
by Jeffrey Chen

I wish I had seen Junebug before The Family Stone -- it could be considered the more realistic version of that story. Chicagoans George (Alessandro Nivola) and his new wife Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) are stopping by a small town in North Carolina to visit his family, so you can imagine the kind of drama this is setting up for.

But Junebug isn't a simple case of the hometown folks ganging up on the city slicker this time. George's family -- mother (Celia Weston), father (Scott Wilson), brother (Benjamin McKenzie), and sister-in-law (the deservedly praised Amy Adams) -- has its fair share of dysfunction, and the situations presented soon expose the varying limits of everyone's heart. These are the ties that bind and threaten to strangle, and the movie cuts deep with its realistic portrayals of human strengths, weaknesses, and relational dynamics.

Obstacles to true harmony abound here in natural, believable ways. That doesn't mean it's a sour movie -- it has a fair balance of characters, from the innocently ebullient to the selfish, from the uptight to the angelically patient, and it doesn't sell any of them short. And even though the movie, patiently shot with observant visuals, sets itself firmly in the Christian South, by the end, you might feel a sense of recognition of the pressures in a family wherever you may be from. And, yeah, it'll sting.(Capsule review.)

(Released by Sony Pictures Classics and rated "R" for sexual content and language.)

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