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Junebug, Directed by Phil Morrison

Epoch Films, August 5, 2005 (US)

Screenplay: Angus MacLachlan

Starring: Embeth Davidtz, Alessandro Nivola, Celia Weston, Benjamin McKenzie, Amy Adams, Scott Wilson, and Frank Hoyt Taylor

George Johnsten
(Alessandro Nivola): It means something.

Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz): What?

George: Family.

As snapshots go, the pictures on the wall don’t tell much. They are merely pieces of a puzzle like the dining room table that is arranged just so, or the beds with the quilts stitched with Grandmother’s love, the carpet which is freshly vacuumed, the hallways that are currently empty, the decision to go with a tri-fold on the bathroom towels or beige paint in the living room and chocolate brown for an accent wall.

The action that unfolds under the roof during the day-to-day provides pieces of the story too: laughter, tears, screams, sighs, parting glances, and a boisterous or, conversely, subdued and mumbled, “Good morning.” The sway of the family is alive in it all. Even the emptiness of the home at any given time reveals a slice of the story. The spirit of a family is as much alive in the open spaces left behind by a work day as it is by the collective surprise brought on by a phone call that interrupts the still of a night. Consider the search that has been on for decades that included input from ancestors long gone to arrive at the trinkets you see now, from the antique vase over here or the porcelain figurine behind the cabinet glass over there. Everything is in its right place.

Peg Johnston (Celia Weston): We don’t need some stranger coming in here messin’ things up.

Eugene Johnston (Scott Wilson): She’s not a stranger. She’s family.

As the years merge, relationships can blossom like garden herbs gone wild just as easily as they can snap like branches cracking beneath gym shoes running post routes over the backyard’s makeshift football field.

Madeleine: She’s a very strong personality.

George: That’s just her way. She’s not like that inside. She hides herself. Like most.

Brothers exchange a handshake to kick off a Christmas where grandparents will watch an argument arise over who gets to play Xbox next. The victor of the debate will dictate the decision to play an afternoon of tennis or to jettison into a frantic car race through Monte Carlo. Eventually, sometime after the gift wrap has been tossed away, before the ham makes its way to the oven, a calm finds a way to drape itself over the day as it always has before.

Ashley Johnsten (Amy Adams): I dont understand it. You make me feel better about things than anybody else and you dont even do anything.

No matter where the new year will lead, no matter how bad things get, there is a light in a window that guides you back home.

Ashley: Its funny how youre gone all the time but youre always here when I need you. Innt that funny?