Madeleine and George stay in the expected baby’s nursery, and she becomes friends with Ashley. The family takes Madeline to a church service and she attends Ashley’s baby shower.
Newlyweds George (Alessandro Nivola) and Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz) apparently had a small, private wedding because she has never met his family. When they find themselves traveling to North Carolina in order for Madeleine, an art gallery owner in Chicago, to court a promising folk artist, they naturally swing by to meet the folks.
It’s quite a family. There’s Dad (Scott Wilson), the strong, silent type who spends most of his time in the basement, woodworking and looking for his screwdriver; Mom (Celia Weston), the enigmatic, direct, suspicious mother; Johnny (Benjamin McKenzie), George’s moody, taciturn, stand-offish brother; and Johnny’s wife Ashley (Amy Adams), who literally lights up the screen with her over-excitable, spontaneous personality (she’s also the only major actor in the film to speak anything like a native North Carolinian).
Ashley’s the type who would drive many a person completely up the wall with her inability to ever stop talking and her immense wonder at everything in the world, but I quite fell in love with her from the very start. It’s pretty obvious that part of her behavior is a front for some sadness, even desperation, in her life, and it’s not hard to find the source – the uncommunicative Johnny, who seems to want nothing to do with anybody – especially George. Speaking of George, he sort of just disappears early on, leaving his fish-out-of-water wife to tackle all of his relatives on her own.
Director: Phil Morrison
Year of Release: 2005
Character to watch: Embeth Davidtz as Madeleine.
Journal your answers to the following questions after you watch the movie.
- How does this particular character’s journey compare with yours?
- Did the character develop certain characteristics during the movie that you have or that you would like to have? If so, what are those characteristics?
- What obstacles did this character face? What was his or her biggest challenge?
- What would you have done differently if you had been in the same position as the character?
- Is this character the type of person you would be friends with? Why or why not?