Time/Place: 11:40 showing at Westpark 8
I know the movie Little Miss Sunshine was a popular independent hit a few years ago, but I never fell in love with it the way some did. So, when I saw the trailer for Sunshine Cleaning from the same producers, I understood that it was purely marketing – yet I was a little nervous that it would mean this new movie was very much the same. I loved the trailer though, so I had to take that risk. These two movies may have shared their similarities, but I definitely liked Sunshine Cleaning a heck of a lot more :-).
Where Sunshine Cleaning could have been obscene or gratuitous, in regards to violence and sex, it always chose to remain sweet, instead. Not that it doesn’t go over some very adult situations, but it’s all handled in a very "clean" way – pun intended :-). I’ve heard some reviews comment on the mediocrity of the script, but I thought it was very smart. It didn’t lay down obviousness thickly, and its few surprises felt very genuine to me.
Most importantly, was that it didn’t feel quirky and weird just to say it was. The story was odd, perhaps, (though inspired by a true story the writer heard), but the characters within it were all very real – and I wanted the best for each of them. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt as our leaders through this little journey are wonderfully engaging, and though the plot may occasionally center more around Amy Adams, it is truly both of their stories. Alan Arkin also plays a much more lovable character in this than he did in Little Miss Sunshine, even though both characters are grandpa’s who enjoy giving advice and life lessons to their unusual grandchild. He felt like a real grandpa to me, and that was ultimately the highlight of this movie – they were all real people.
These characters were people you may or may not meet in your own life, but I’ll bet you’ve known at least one, and it is that ability to relate to them that let’s the audience root for each character’s individual victories. I most certainly walked out of the theater today with a smile – and I hope you might too.