Little Miss Sunshine
Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
* * * *Richard: There are two kinds of people in this world, winners and losers.
When I was young I entered a few beauty pageants. My mom entered me in a beauty contest for redheads when I was five or six. I didn't place because I was auburn, not carrot-top. As a teen, I desperately wanted to get into pageants. I only did three because it was time consuming, neurotic and EXPENSIVE. Thus ended my short pageant career. Lucky me.
In Little Miss Sunshine
, 7-year old Olive entered a pageant when she visited her aunt one summer in California. She didn't win but she placed first and was bitten by the pageant bug. Now she works on her talent with her indulging grandpa and watches video of Miss America pageants.
Olive's family is dysfunctional like all families. Name an issue and they are dealing with it: teenage rebellion, senior rebellion, divorce, suicide, drug abuse, bankruptcy, homosexuality, pornography. In the middle of all this, the family decides to support Olive by taking a sudden road trip from Albuquerque to California because the winner of Little Miss Sunshine can't defend her title. And we all know how well families get along on a long road trip in a broken down car!
I don't know if I can put my finger on exactly why I liked this movie so much. The more I think about it, the more thrilled I am about it. It has a fantastic cast. They expertly handle each delicate moment between darkness and levity. We recently watched Click
with Adam Sandler
and had a hard time figuring out whether to laugh or cry. He always looked like he was doing his bit even when he found out his father was dead. In Little Miss Sunshine Steve Carell
, known for his dry wit and serious comedic delivery on The Office
, shows he has more than one face. As does the fantastic Toni Collette
(Muriel's Wedding, Emma, The Sixth Sense
and About A Boy
). Not to mention Alan Arkin and, my favorite, Greg Kinnear
(As Good As It Gets
, Stuck on You
, The Matador
As for the story, each member of the family struggles alone to achieve a perceived ideal. One by one their dreams are shattered. I guess it's just heart-warming to watch as they each realize they can have new dreams and a better chance at accomplishing them together.
Labels: Movie Reviews