Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning - A Review

I do end up seeing quite a few films whether it is via the lovely thing called Satellite, Netflix, or yes even the theatre. I thought it was about time I actually start writing some reviews. So voila, hopefully the first of many.

Directed By: Christine Jeffs
Written By: Megan Holley
Plot: A thirtysomething single mother whose boundless potential was squandered through a series of failed relationships and a misguided effort to help her younger sister succeed in life finds the fruits of her labors finally coming together in director Christine Jeffs’ dark family comedy. Back in high school, the future looked pretty bright for Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams); not only was she the cheerleading captain, but she was also dating the star quarterback. Flash forward a little over a decade, and Rose is working overtime in hopes of getting her son into a better school. Her sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), is still living at home with their father, Joe (Alan Arkin), a failed salesman whose penchant for jumping into get-rich-quick schemes has left the family without a financial net to fall back on. Rose may be down, but she certainly isn't out, and when she hatches a plan to launch a crime-scene cleanup business, the money starts rolling in. Sure, cleaning up murder scenes and suicide sites may not be the most glamorous job in the world, but death is a fairly profitable business, and as the phone keeps ringing, Rose and Norah finally begin to experience the closeness of sisterhood that has eluded them all these years while also providing their family with true security.
Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steve Zahn, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Time: 1 hr 31 min
Comments: I saw the trailer a while back and thought it looked cute. Add the fact that is from the same people who brought me Little Miss Sunshine and I am even more intrigued (I love, love that film). It helps that it has a decent cast and the only thing I had to wait for is for it to come around to my neck of the woods. Thankfully I have a theatre that is willing to play some of the non-blockbuster type of flicks. Yeah.

It started off incredibly well with trailers like the Brothers Bloom and Away We Go. The movie begins with Rose (Amy Adams) and her life as a maid which is not exactly the life she pictured outside of high school. No matter what her bathroom mirror affirmations say she doesn’t feel like the all powerful goddess she is trying to convince herself she is. She is likable, sympathetic and I can relate to her just a bit when you realize your life may be a little different than you thought it would be after high school or University. She is looking for acceptance from everyone. Her sister Norah (Emily Blunt), on the other hand, doesn’t really care. She hates her pointless job as a waitress and has learned to accept that people expect her to mess up even when it is not her fault. She is quirky and snarky and isn’t trying to be anything for anyone or so she fools herself into believing.

Rose’s son has his own quirks as does the patriarch of the family. In short, this is a quirky family that in the end just wants to be happy. In that way they are similar to the family in Little Miss Sunshine (So much so that Alan Arkin plays, once again, an unconventional grandfather and it takes place in Albuquerque). You cannot help but like the family, see parts of yourself in them, wants to see them be happy even though this is only a brief glimpse into their lives.

But this isn’t Little Miss Sunshine. While there are the laughs and the quirks and such, there is sensitivity as well. It’s a fairly low key drama with sides of humor, nothing really going so over the top that you cannot find it believable. And in the end there is a bit more drama than I expected. Which isn’t bad. I believe Adams and Blunt as sisters. They work and as much as they infuriate one another, they love each other. I wanted to know more. I wanted to see more and that makes a good film.

They certainly tried to make another quirky film like Little Miss Sunshine. While, it didn’t quite hit the way that Little Miss Sunshine did, I did enjoy it. They’re different films, but they both have great casts. I liked it enough that I will probably pick it up when it hits DVD. Its worth watching if it comes to your theatre.

3.5/4 popcorns