One of the things I had to do was revise my movie review of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. My editor-in-chief had (in my opinion) pretty well destroyed my original review to the point that I did not even want my name to be printed before it. So, we came to a (cordial) agreement that I would just redo it and we would go for it again tomorrow. So, instead of posting tonight about my boring life (you have to admit, I'm not all that interesting!) I'm just gonna post my newly revised version of my first article in the first issue of THE EXAMINER (I hope to have a total of 3 in the first issue, but we'll see). I hope you enjoy this one as much as you did the last one (I appreciated your comments then, and I appreciate them in advance now). It is much different, so I hope that it works (only on a different level, I suppose). Thanks, and I'll try to post again soon!
LET THE ‘SUNSHINE’ IN
By Justin Gott – Entertainment Editor
Little Miss Sunshine, directed by music video directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris from a script by first-time screenwriter Michael Arndt, is a typical look at the dysfunctional family, but it is done in such a recognizable and practical way that it becomes profoundly effective.
The story follows the
The first person we meet is Olive (Abigail Breslin), an average-looking seven-year-old girl with a dream of becoming Miss
Olive is trained by her grandpa (Alan Arkin) who is living with the
Richard (Greg Kinnear), the man of the household, is an unfortunately unsuccessful motivational speaker. He teaches an attitude of winning and philosophizes about the importance of winning at all times, even though he has become a perfect loser. His wife Sheryl (Toni Collette) is the hard-working mom who does everything she can at every moment to keep their family together.
Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) is a former professor who claims to be the Number One Proust scholar in the world. He is also a homosexual who lost his job because a grad student of his did not return his love, and Frank ended up attempting suicide. Failing at that as well, he ends up moving in with the
Then there is Dwayne, the misunderstood teenager who is in the midst of a nine-month-long vow of silence that was inspired by his readings of German philosopher Frederick Nietzsche. He “hates everybody,” or at least that is what he writes on his little notebook that he uses when he must communicate.
A daring scene (mostly because of its length) towards the beginning of the film shows the
Sound familiar? It should. That dinner has been experienced by almost every American at one point or another. It is that familiarity that makes Sunshine such a great film.
These six people grow together in ways that they never would have seen coming, and it is the way that the characters change that inspires us to want to change as well. The brilliantly constructed and wickedly funny script calls for many different emotions from all of the actors, and it is the performances that make this film memorable.
Steve Carell (The 40-Year-Old Virgin), one of
Also remarkable is Paul Dano as Dwayne. Dano plays the tortured high-schooler to perfection and has impeccable comedic timing (even in silence). Dwayne is inspired and brilliant in his own right. His big moment comes when he learns something about himself that drastically alters his future plans. The way he explodes is exactly how we feel for him because of the sincerity he radiates.
There are social criticisms (specifically in how the pageant is portrayed), life lessons, and insightful truths into how people live their day-to-day lives, but the thing that makes Sunshine so good is its perfect cast. There is not a film out there right now with a better ensemble, because there is not a single chink in the chain – every actor is top-notch.
While Sunshine will not garner side-splitting laughs or cause tears to be shed, it does make for an outstanding two hours of entertainment. It is a poignant, noteworthy, and powerful piece of cinema that works as a great character piece and should be remembered come Oscar season. Easily the best film to come out this year, Little Miss Sunshine shines brightly amongst the weeds of all the routine and heartless summer blockbusters.
So what did you think??????????????