june bug

The premise is simple: big city art-dealer Madeline, goes to meet “down-home” family of new husband George. In a twist on the predictable, the main purpose of the trip is to meet a new artist for her gallery, and the family just happened to be nearby. This small independent film is a secure complex, often comic, story of relations, roots, and folk art, where prejudices on all sides are held up to light. Amy Adams was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance as Ashley, the hopelessly optimistic, and heavily pregnant sister-in-law who believes family is stronger than just about anything. This seemingly simple film grows on you, just as Ashley does. [usa, 2005]

iris

Although at surface this is the tragic story of a stunning mind lost to the debilitation of Alzheimer’s disease, it is truly a meditation on love, commitment, and the inevitable truth that we all will grow old, ugly, and dependent. Three Oscar-nominated performances are turned in by Dame Judi Dench, Kate Winslet, and Jim Broadbent, in this love-letter to great British writer Iris Murdoch. The interplay between the fire of the young Iris, played by Winslet, and the wisdom but then incoherence of the aging Iris, played by Dench, is especially well conceived. [uk, 2001]