Thursday, June 30, 2011

987. Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Running Time: 101 minutes
Directed By: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Written By: Michael Arndt
Main Cast: Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Abigail Breslin, Steve Carell, Alan Arkin


Well guess what kids? When you get paid the day AFTER your Netflix membership fee is due, as sad is it is, your account gets put on hold for a day. If it hadn't I'd be writing about "Naked Lunch" right now, but it did and I was forced to peruse my DVD shelf and came out with "Little Miss Sunshine".

To tell the story of "Little Miss Sunshine", I must first talk about the characters, as they are the ingredient that really make this a "must see" film. First you have Richard (Kinnear), a motivational speaker/author who, despite his message of "win win win", can't seem to and he's going bankrupt. Then you have his wife Sheryl (Collette), the Mom who seems to act as the glue to hold the family unit together and who doesn't mind sneaking a smoke behind Richard's back to take the edge off. There's their daughter Olive (Breslin) who's ultimate dream is to be one day crowned Miss America. The other child is Dwayne (Paul Dano), who has taken a vow of silence until he reaches HIS ultimate goal of becoming a fighter pilot. Sheryl's brother, Frank (Carell), has recently descended into a state of depression and suicide when his gay lover left him for his career rival. Finally there's Grandpa (Arkin), a heroin addicted, foul mouthed man, who loves his family, but shows it very differently. These six personalities take to a yellow VW Bus when Olive is chosen to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine competition. Their journey won't be an easy one, as they'll face obstacles and a roller coaster of emotion over the next 800 miles.


This cast reminds me of a group of really good singers who get together on stage and spout out the most beautiful harmony you've ever heard. These six actors and actresses are harmonizing together and making a beautiful movie in the process. "Little Miss Sunshine" tackles the subject and drives home the theme of family togetherness. While out on the open road the family experiences death, heartbreak, failure and disgrace, but through it all they stick together and in the end their left with smiling faces. Everyone...yes EVERYONE in this film hands in an A+ performance and without them we wouldn't be talking about this film, on this blog. The way their introduced at the beginning and the way we leave them at the end is, both times, accompanied by a magnificent piece of music by Devotchka called "How It Ends" - a piece that really suits this film and ties it all together.

If there's anything about the film that I don't like, then it'd certainly be the ending. The first time I saw "Little Miss Sunshine", I liked the ending - I thought it was that last big breakout scene where the whole family, for the first time during the film, is on the same page. Where they all stand up and flaunt their dysfunctionality to the world and for the first time they don't care that they're different. And maybe that's the idea, maybe that's what the filmmakers were going for, but to me the ending is just a little too silly for such a good movie. I'm not sure what ending I'd put to the film, but the ultimate ending of playing "How It Ends" and having the family continue on their journey through life, leaving us to wonder what will ever happen to them, was a fine one and I guess I should be thankful for at least that.

RATING: 9/10 I lopped off a point because of the ending, but don't be mislead - this is a great picture. But don't take my word for it...see for yourself.


June 30, 2011 6:12pm

1 comment:

  1. I'm going to surprise you. A family, feel god film with cute kid? Ray will hate this?
    Fooled ya!
    A fantastic film.
    But on second consideration.. it is quite an alternative film isn't it? \despite the desperate journey to attend the pagent, it shows how truely aweful such things are. Olives highly dodgy routine (grandpa's warning??) is a blistering attack on the whole under age beauty parade culture, and by taking it to an extream, makes a very strong point. Well, that's what I saw it as anyway!
    And yes, I'm afraid I agree, the slightly slapstich, almost silent era.keystone cop like ending warents the loss of a point..


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