Sunshine Cleaning Directed by: Christine Jeffs Cast: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steve Zahn Running Time: 1 hr 30 mins Rating: R
Plot: Rose Lorkowski (Adams) works as a house cleaner to support her son. Her sister, Norah (Blunt), is recently unemployed and lives at home with her Dad. When Mac (Zahn), Rose's married boyfriend, introduces her to the world of crime scene cleanup, she sees a way to be her own boss and make good money.
Who’s It For? People who like subtle comedy, like Little Miss Sunshine.
Expectations: I like both the lead actresses and the preview looked great so I was expecting awesome things.
Adams dims her usual glow to play Rose, a single mother and house cleaner just getting by financially and emotionally. In High School, Rose was head cheerleader and dated the quarterback, Mac. Now she sleeps with him behind his wife's back and gets her sister to babysit by pretending she's going to real estate classes. Adams makes it clear that Rose has no illusions, she knows that her life has been a disappointment and feels this most strongly after running into a fellow former cheerleader while cleaning her house.
Norah's in worse shape, marginally employed when she even has a job, and living at home with her Dad. Still, Blunt makes Norah superfun, with her horrifying Lobsterman stories and love of kittens. Adams and Blunt play off of one another in the natural way that sisters have, they aren't all lovey-dovey but they know how to argue and make up like real siblings. Arkin plays their father as a man who's overwhelmed by them more often than not, but all three fit and make a charming family.
Despite the name Sunshine Cleaning, the film isn't really about the business. It's about the family and their growth. There's a subplot involving Mary Lynn Rajskub that seems a bit unnecessary, this is really a story about Rose and Norah and the ebb and flow of their relationship. I loved the camera work, the flat, stark shots resemble the landscape of Albuquerque. They also keep the focus on the actors, when you have talent this good you want to showcase it.
The plot becomes hard to believe in the last act, but ultimately I loved the characters so much I just wanted to believe good things, regardless of the plausibility. In it's own way, Sunshine Cleaning is a total feel good movie.
Final Score: 7/10