Film Review- Little Miss Sunshine (2006) This film is the reason why I love this medium. A heartwarming story about a little girls dreams of becoming Miss California with a side dish of a dysfunctional family. It’s a film that is packed with issues but still turns out to be a lovely uplifting saga which is filled with light hearted comedy, emotion and pure beauty.
Plot- The Hoover family is filled with massive problems. The father (Greg Kinnear) has a step by step program for winners and losers that he wished to proceed and make famous with a book deal and so on. However success is slim and this puts pressure on his relationship with is wife. However the film is focused on the daughter, Olive (Abigail Breslin) who enters the Little miss Sunshine contest who was trained by her Grandfather(Alan Arkin) , who an old WW2 veteran who has an addiction to Heroin. Also the Son, Dwayne (Paul Dano) takes a vow of silence to become a Pilot and he hates everybody. Finally Their Uncle, Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) is a gay Proust Scholar who tried to commit suicide. This film tracks the journey to the little miss sunshine contest.
Review- There are not many films that I watch that I think are perfect. There are not many films that I get so engrossed into, that I feel for every character and enjoy it throughout. This is one of those films. Little Miss Sunshine is one of those little gems, that didn’t need multi-million budget, explosion or nudity to appease audiences. This film has a heart, great script and a perfect performances from every member of the cast. I can’t stress how perfect each actor/actress were. Steve Carell was perfect playing the guy who has just tried to commit suicide. He plays the silent, edgy character which tries to say that he’s fine but everywhere he looks he reminding of his pain and he acts it so well, showing that Carell can play more serious roles. Kinnear and Collette was just perfect playing the pushy and laid back parents with their own struggles but its Carell, Dano’s performance as the silent son, who hates everybody is even more perfect. Abigail Breslin as Olive is fantastic, the scene where she asks her granddad if she’s pretty is a stand out scene and it’s because of Breslin’s performance makes it so amazing. A brilliant child actor. Alan Arkin as the Granddad is the source of Comedy and his performance is a scene stealer he is a much deserved Oscar Winning performance. I cannot fault anyone on their performance because they were flawless, every single one.
The story is some what simple, a dysfunctional family going on a journey to take their Daughter to a beauty pagent. In that simple sentence their are problems of divorce, bankruptcy, suicide, addiction, sexualisation of young women, homosexuailty, family, death, life. It’s full of these issues but it balances it out with some light hearted comedy and emotion perfectly. It never becomes too depressing or cheesy. It’s a great script that has so many memorable moments. It has moment of problems, solutions and wisdom. It pulled each string perfectly, with every emotion being used. When you needed to feel happy the film produced it, when it needed a problem to overcome, it produced it. When you need to stare at the screen at go all teary eyed, it did it. When a film has no big budget or explosion it can’t hide behind a mask, it needs a beautifully written script, a big heart and amazing performances to make it a great film and this film has it.
[Spoiler Alert] One of my favourite parts were the pageant scene where there is a clear sexualisation of young girls but the audience cheer it and applaud however when Olive explicitly presents a strip tease, the audience are horrified, it’s the irony of the audience that are played so well. However the seminal theme for the film is family, it starts of with a separated family full of problems, and ends with a close knitted family that still has those problems but it’s the togetherness that creates the solution that audiences are hungry for. Some people may find it depressing or not that impacting but it’s not depressing, it’s life. It doesn’t fully go into depth with the problems but it still tackles them perfectly.
Overall- This is a film that is a little gem that has a big heart. Brilliant direction, great script, amazing performances and an emotional ride. Little Miss Sunshine is no blockbuster, no explosion fest of booms and boobs and monster. It’s a stripped down film that is simple. It’s so simple that it is beautiful. Emotional, majestic, funny and sweet. This is a perfect film that is simple, heart warming and just beauty. Film Rating- 10/10