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From the Vaults: Amy Adams Rules Local Screens

This week's 'It Girl' Amy Adams first enchanted us in 'Junebug'

By Marjorie Baumgarten, 6:35PM, Fri. Sep. 21, 2012

Adams in 'Junebug'
Adams in 'Junebug'

Amy Adams co-stars in two new films opening on Austin screens today: The Master and Trouble With the Curve. It's a coincidence of timing that both films bow here this weekend, but the double exposure affords us the opportunity to fully appreciate Adams' career and how far it has come in just a dozen years.

Amy Adams made her film debut in 1999's Drop Dead Gorgeous, a comedy about beauty pageants. The actress worked steadily over the next several years, garnering roles on such television series as Buffy the Vampire Slayer and King of the Hill, and appearances in films ranging from the Charles Busch comedy Psycho Beach Party and the indie drama, The Slaughter Rule, by the twin-brother filmmakers, Andrew Smith and (UT film lecturer) Alex Smith. It was expected that her breakout role would come from her 2002 performance in Steven Spielberg's Catch Me If You Can. Alas, her breakout did not really occur until 2005 when she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award for her role in the indie hit, Junebug. Her position as a member of acting royalty was solidified with her lead performance as the princess in Disney's Enchanted.

Junebug, though, showed us what Adams was capable of. In her Chronicle review, Kimberley Jones admiringly refers to Adams as a "scene stealer," a feat that's all the more impressive considering the considerable talents who surrounded her in that film (including Austin native Ben McKenzie). In this North Carolina-set film, she plays a very pregnant wife married to a young man (McKenzie) who is experiencing doubts about the sustainability of their marriage. The film astutely captures the milieu of small-town Southern life. Adams finesses the film's fine line between stereotypes and honest characterizations. Her Ashley blossoms from an apparent mental lightweight to a deeply moving character whose smile is just her frown turned upside down. Junebug is a terrific indie movie that premiered at Sundance, where Adams received a Special Jury Award for her performance – the first of many more critical kudos her work in this film earned. If you're at all intrigued by her stellar performances in The Master and Trouble With the Curve, you owe it to yourself to check out Junebug.

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