When newlywed Madeleine (Embeth Davidtz), an art dealer, travels from Chicago to North Carolina to pursue a local, self-taught painter (Frank Hoyt Taylor) for her outsider art gallery she takes the opportunity to meet her husband George's (Alessandro Nivola) family, who live close by.
There's his flinty, judgmental mother Peg (Celia Weston); his reserved, contemplative father Eugene (Scott Wilson); and his sullen, resentful, twenty-ish brother Johnny (Benjamin McKenzie) who, although married, still lives at home, and is studying for his high school equivalence certificate while working at Replacements, Ltd. as an order processor. Johnny married his wife, Ashley, before either of them finished high school. Relations between Johnny and Ashley are strained, with Ashley believing that a baby will solve their marital problems. Madeleine and George stay in the baby's nursery and she becomes friends with Johnny's pregnant young wife Ashley (Amy Adams), a very sweet and friendly, if somewhat naive and talkative girl. The family take Madeline to a church service and she attends Ashley's baby shower. Madeleine discovers that she does not know much about George, as they have been married only six months, and knew each other only a week before they got married. George's strong Southern family values come through.
The artist Madeleine is trying to sign wavers over signing with her gallery. Ashley goes in to labor, and the family goes to the hospital with her, but Madeleine chooses to go and convince the artist to sign with her gallery, which makes George angry. Ashley's baby boy is stillborn. She tells George she was going to name it "Junebug". George and Madeleine leave to go back to Chicago.