Sunshine Cleaning DVD

Expectations were high for me going into watching Sunshine Cleaning.  After-all it is from the producers of Little Miss Sunshine, which I absolutely loved.  While director Christine Jeffs didn’t quite hit those expectations, she did deliver a real heart warming film.

Like Little Miss Sunshine the story here revolves around a dysfunctional family with Alan Arkin as the patriarch of the clan.  Arkin once again provides a stellar performance in a familiar role that fits him well. 

The film’s two leads, Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, are sisters whose lives went on two very different paths after suffering the tragic loss of their mother at an early age.   Jeffs uses flashbacks and subtle dialogue to let the viewers see how each sister dealt with the death.  In one scene, 24‘s Mary Lynn Rajskub’s Lynn asks the younger sister Norah how her mother died and Norah, who still is suffering from the loss, casually responds “it was a do-it-yourself thing”.  Comments like that show how she tries to brush off the notion of how her mother died and how she can’t accept it.

Here is Amy Adams, cleaning up after Julia Childs, who happens to be cooking at the Smithsonian.  I can't keep track of everything this woman does!

Here is Amy Adams, cleaning up after Julia Childs, who happens to be cooking at the Smithsonian. I can't keep track of everything this woman does!

While Norah chooses to let the suicide affect her greatly and use it as an excuse to be weak, Adams’ Rose does her best to stay strong and overcome any obstacles that come her way.  Once a very popular cheerleader, who dated the football team’s starting quarterback, has found her life spiraling in a direction that leaves her empty inside and wanting more.  It’s this drive that ultimately has her starting her own business that has her cleaning crime scenes.

While at first the job is something to help her make ends meet and get her son into a better school, it becomes something that helps her cope with her past.  It makes her feel good about easing the pain for people who lost loved ones like herself, and don’t need to deal with the aftermath of cleaning up after these losses.

When it comes to this movie, it is the acting that is the best part.  Adams and Blunt give riveting performances, while Arkin shines. The supporting cast delivers on all ends, with  Clifton Collins Jr in a great role as the one armed owner of the cleaning supply store who develops a friendship with Rose.  My only complaint would be he wasn’t more utilized.  Steve Zahn and the young Jason Spevak add good support as well.

Since this is a DVD review, I have to mention the special features.  While there isn’t much besides trailers of this and other films, the main special feature hits a home run in my eyes.  Sunshine Cleaning: A Fresh Look At A Dirty Job shows you two real-life women who do crime scene clean-up for a living.  These life long friends tell you how they got into the business and how they felt watching this film and tell us how it hits a bulls-eye on comparisons to their experiences in a field usually done by men.

Overall I really enjoyed this film and despite some slow-moving scenes, I recommend going out and renting it on DVD.  I give Sunshine Cleaning 3 1/2 out of 5 stars.

3 and a half pitchforks


Posted on August 29, 2009, in DVD Review, Film Review and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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