The real revelation of Junebug is Adams as the pregnant Ashley. She talks a mile a minute, with responses and enthusiasms that seem better suited to an 11-year-old girl in pigtails. But Ashley is not presented for mockery or easy laughs. Ultimately she is the best drawn of the five major characters, the performance is amazing, endearing and layered, and her work alone makes this one to watch. Hopefully Academy voters noticed it, too.
While outsider art is a subplot of Junebug, a real and mysterious icon of the movement is the subject of the fascinating documentary In the Realms of the Unreal. Henry Darger was a janitor and loner who hardly ever talked to another living soul. But upon his death in 1973, at the age of 81, it was discovered he had been secretly writing a 15,000 (fifteen-thousand!)-page novel with hundreds of painted illustrations in his small room. His two chief works were an autobiography and perhaps the longest novel ever written, a bizarre epic tale of children fighting their slave masters with the help of angels in a series of massive battles in an imaginary land. The film juxtaposes Darger's biography with readings from the novel, sprinkled with brief interviews of those few folks who "knew" him. It's a truly sad, odd and interesting stranger-than-fiction story. And as his landlady says, if nothing else it's proof of what one can accomplish without the distractions of friends, family or television.