Monday, April 13, 2009

Monday At the Movies: Sunshine Cleaning

Monday's Movie is hosted by Sheri at A Novel Menagerie.

As I was browsing through the list of movies out in theaters this weekend, nothing stood out. At least, not until I came across a listing for Sunshine Cleaning, a movie I had been wanting to see since I first saw it advertised late last year. It meant my husband and I had to drive a little farther to a theater that was playing it, but that was okay. Sunday stretched out before us, and we had no other plans.

Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) is a single mother, supporting her young son. In high school, she had been the head cheerleader and dated the star football player. Now she works as a maid, and finds herself cleaning the house of one of her former classmates. She struggles with feelings of self-worth as she balances work, motherhood, and a dead end relationship. When Rose's son is kicked out of public school, Rose decides to open her own crime scene clean up service in order to raise money to get her son into private school. Rose's sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), whose own life is muddled and off track, reluctantly agrees to help her sister with the business, having just lost her own job as a waitress. The two sisters settle into their new career choice, cleaning up the messes left behind by others while, at the same time, trying to get their own lives on track.

Sunshine Cleaning is a quirky dark comedy that is more complex than it may appear on the surface. The movie had me laughing in spots and tearing up in others. The entire cast does an amazing job, including Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin who plays the sisters' father. Adams' and Blunt's performances came across as raw and genuine.

I have read a lot of criticism about how this movie is a lesser Little Miss Sunshine, and I have to disagree. The two movies may have some similarities, but overall, they are completely different. Sunshine Cleaning stands just fine on its own. Sunshine Cleaning does tackle quite a few issues, some are resolved more fully in others. And that's okay. This is the sort of movie that is best left with certain questions left in the air or else it would not seem quite so real.

Movie: Sunshine Cleaning (2009)
Genre: ‎Comedy, Drama
MPAA Rating: R
Directed By: Christine Jeffs
Writers: Megan Holley


  1. I know, the reviews were so-so on this movie, but in my mind, how can you go wrong with these two actresses?

  2. I probably wont see this at the movies but I will definitely rent the dvd. I had not heard of this film but the plot sounds intriguing.

    I generally dont listen to the critics anyway as I rarely like what they do and like the stuff they hate.

  3. Thank you for this review, Wendy! I hadn't heard of this movie before and it sounds just like the kind of think I enjoy. I love me some dark comedies :D

  4. Sounds really good! I hadn't heard about this movie (well, I don't think so) but it's my kind of movie so I'll look for it on DVD.

    Did having Alan Arkin in both movies (Little Miss Sunshine and this one) cause some of the comparisons between the two? (He was in Little Miss Sunshine, right??)

  5. I'm supposed to go see this one tomorrow and I'm looking forward to it.

  6. I don't remember even hearing about this one. Sounds like one my mom would really enjoy. Thanks for the recommedation!

  7. My family watches all kinds of movies and I think they'd be interested in this too. Thanks for the review, Wendy!

  8. I had heard this was pretty good but I really knew very little about it - thanks for the informative review, Wendy!

  9. I thought this looked very quirky and fun plus Emily Blunt is quickly becoming a fave of mine. I definitely want to see it!!

  10. I haven't even heard of this! DVD here I come! (I rarely see adult movie in the theater, and I mean adult and not Adult.)

  11. I don't watch many movies during the winter but save them up for the summer. We stay at a campground located not far from a video store and I love to stop in on my way back from the beach to pick up a flick. This will be at the top of my list.

  12. Man--my husband doesn't get to pick any movies for a long time. We suffered through Fast and the Furious this weekend and when the lights came up, all I could muster was "I told you so." :P I would have much rather seen Sunshine Cleaning--glad to hear you thought it was worthy.

    Have a great week, Wendy.

  13. I've not heard of this one, but it sounds really good!
    Come visit me, I have something =)

  14. Florinda - I really liked it. There were many more layers to it than I expected, which only made it better, I think.

    Staci - Emily Blunt did an amazing job in this film. I really like her performances too.

    Tara - I imagine having children does limit your movie choices. :-) I hope you do get to see this one. It is in limited release theater wise, so it'll probably be easier to get a hold of on DVD as it is.

    Linda - Summer is a good time to catch up on movies. I tend to watch more then too--especially ones on DVD.

    And how perfect! A campground right next to the video store. :-)

    Trish - Haha! My husband has no desire to see Fast and the Furious. He tends to be really picky about the movies he wants to see--much like the books he reads. I'm more likely to drag him to movies he doesn't want to see. :-)

    Sheri - And I completely forgot to add my link! Ugh.

    Kristina - I really liked it. :-)

  15. Sandy - They really did a wonderful job in this movie. It's worth seeing just to see their performances.

    Caspette - It is a really interesting movie--and there's a lot more to it than what's on the surface.

    I'm with you, I take movie reviews by professional critics with a grain of salt.

    Nymeth - I hope you get a chance to see it!

    Myckyee - Yes, Alan Arkin being in both movies seemed to be one of the common points of comparison. I thought he did a great job in both movies. :-)

    Kathy - Let me know what you think!

    Jen - It hasn't gotten a lot of media attention, unfortunately. It's an indie film and they don't always get the best press. I hope your mom likes it if she watches it.

    Alice - My husband and I really like watching movies too. :-) If your family does watch this one, I hope they like it.

  16. This is the first that I have heard of this movie...I may have to add it to my netflix as it sounds like one that I may enjoy.
    Thanks for posting about it!

  17. I'm a big fan of Amy Adams and can't wait to see this! Thanks for the review! I wonder what it has in common with Little Miss Sunshine besides the fact that both films have the word Sunshine in the title!

  18. Sounds like something I'd like. I'm becoming an Amy Adams fan :)

  19. Stacy - She's really grown on me over the years. She's a great actress.


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