Adam’s Film Friday – A Review of Sunshine Cleaning

For this week’s movie, I went off a suggestion Kim had made for a film that she felt I would like. I was a little nervous about the movie, having not really heard of the film before she told me about it, but I figured like all good movie reviewers, I would watch it.  As such, here is my unbiased review of Sunshine Cleaning.

Amy Adams stars as Rose, a thirty something cleaning lady. She needs to make some more money because her son has been diagnosed with ADD, and his school is threatening to expel him unless she puts him on medicine. She has two decisions: get him on medicine or get him into a private school. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have enough money for either choice. For advice, she turns to her high school boyfriend named Mac (Steve Zahn), who is now married but having an affair with Rose. Mac works as a police officer and suggests to Rose that she can make a lot of money doing crime scene clean up. Rose enlists the help of her lazy sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), in starting a company called “Sunshine Cleaning”.  Meanwhile, their father Joe (Alan Arkin) begins to sell Shrimp out of his house so he can afford to purchase a pair of binoculars for Rose’s son’s birthday.

I was very indifferent to this film: I didn’t hate it, I merely liked it. I thought it had all of the elements to make me enjoy the film. The story and screenplay were extremely unique and the film was very well made, but I felt like something wasn’t there; maybe the filmmakers tried to be too independent for their own good. It just tried too hard to tell the viewers that it was an independent film, and while watching the movie that didn’t sit well with me.

One really impressive thing about the movie was Emily Blunt’s performance as Rose’s underachieving sister. She is an incredibly talented actress, and frankly I am surprised she hasn’t received an Oscar nomination yet. She is British, yet from this performance I wasn’t able to detect any hint of a British accent. She effortlessly dropped the accent, which to me shows true talent. She definitely was one of the stand-outs for me, and every scene she was in my focus was solely on her. I look forward to a prosperous career from her in the future.

Another strong performance was from Mac, played by Steve Zahn. He is mostly known for comedies, and being the aloof sidekick, so I was surprised to see a more dramatic turn from him. He showed his vulnerable side with some of the scenes with Amy Adams. He’s another actor whom I think (if given the right part) could be a serious actor and earn an Oscar nomination.

In conclusion, I didn’t love it, but I didn’t hate it. Sunshine Cleaning had a truly original concept, but something about this movie never clicked and didn’t make it the truly great film that it had the potential to be. Like always I leave you with a question: what is the weirdest job that you’ve ever had? After watching this movie, your odd job won’t seem as odd as cleaning up after crime scenes.

3 out of 5 Stars 

Sunshine Cleaning
Backlot Pictures
R, 91 Minutes

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