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Little Miss Sunshine

2006 Independent comedy-drama

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Charming and surprisingly soulful indie flick

  • Dec 8, 2008
  • by
Rating:
+4
In the past few years, there has been an onslaught of adorable, indie films. Some of them I have loved. Some of them I've disliked -- mostly because I find them too precious, too strategically quirky and "unconventional." In many senses, Little Miss Sunshine falls into both categories. It is both a wonderfully charming film, full of soul and vitality. But it sometimes falls into some of the quirkier-than-thou cliches, which is what prevented me from giving a higher score. But I liked it -- period. It was funny, entertaining, and well worth my time.

The film follows a family en route to a child beauty pageant. Of course, the story isn't so much about the pageant as the trip itself. We encounter a rockin' and rollin old grandfather, a Nietzsche-obsessed, "damaged": teenager, a Proustian scholar in the dumps (he recently had a suicide attempt), a motivational-speaker of a father, and a mother trying to keep everything together. In total, you have the quirky, indie-flick style family to the core.

But that's not to detract from the warmth and soul of the film. The movie is utterly charming, full of humor and sensitivity. Each of characters are so unique that their clashes seem like real families arguments -- squabbling over different sensibilities, struggling to find a middle-ground, awkward yet endearing tensions.

After leaving the theater, I felt happy. Yes, just plain happy. It is a solidly pleasurable, spirited movie.

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January 26, 2009
It also falls victim to the cliche that one grandparent must die and be stuffed into some inconspicuous part of the car. Note to self: turn down road trip invitations from daughter and son in law.
 
December 11, 2008
This is a great review! I really appreciate that, even though you were affected by its charms (who could resist that Abigail Breslin?) you still concede the over the top moments that just go too far. Quirk for the sake of quirk is one of my personal pet peeves.
 
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More Little Miss Sunshine reviews
review by . May 12, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
Lil' Miss Can't Be Wrong
Every year the box offices around the world have at least one movie which surprisingly will earn a killing & leave me completely baffled. OK, that's too broad. Let me try again. The film will definitely rack up at the box offices but the film is somewhat of an indie fave. Does that help any? These films aren't especially bad  & could actually be enjoyable films on any given day but..just don't seem to be anything really special overall & I  don't get the mass hype surrounding …
Quick Tip by . June 15, 2010
Favorite!
review by . February 11, 2009
DVD
This very funny comedy concerns Olive, a sweet little seven-year old who wants to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in California. She lives with her eccentric family in New Mexico, so the whole brood piles into the old VW bus for a road trip, and there's never a dull moment. Her father (Greg Kinnear) is a failed motivational speaker, her grandfather (Alan Arkin) is a trouble-making curmudgeon, her uncle (Steve Carell) is suicidal, her mother (Toni Collette) is always screaming, and her …
review by . June 03, 2008
Little Olive just wants to enter the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant. Her parents are going to take her there. Run-of-the-mill family road trip, right? What could possibly go wrong? Add into the mix a suicidal uncle, a brother who's taken the vow of silence, and a grandfather who was kicked out of a retirement home for snorting heroin, and you've got the perfect recipe for unpredictable disaster that's anything but ordinary.  This is one of those movies where outrageous and consequently hilarious …
review by . November 01, 2008
Six people in a mini-bus   Driving from Albuquerque   These folk are so dysfunctional   They're way past being "quirky"     Dad's nine steps are faltering   Mom's just tired and stressed   Granddad's snorting heroin   While Uncle is depressed     Brother's chosen to be mute   His family gets him down   Olive only wants a chance   To win a pageant crown     Trouble …
review by . June 10, 2008
Despite its somewhat quirky story line, Little Miss Sunshine is not only great to watch, but is something that one can easily relate to. Unlike your typical movie that paints the picture of the perfect American family, Little Miss Sunshine shows the more realistic side of the typical family dichotomy--financial worries, care of elderly relatives, depression, and dreams deferred.The movie provides a funny, albeit exaggerated, perspective on the things that bind us together even when life is not going …
review by . May 05, 2008
Pros: Wonderful ensemble cast. Well acted. Alan Arkin's lines.     Cons: Drags in a couple of spots. Alan Arkin's lines.     The Bottom Line: Strange and wonderful, well acted and unique. I've never seen anything like it. I have seen it at least six times and I love it more for repeat watching.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals major details about the movie's plot. "You don't speak because of Frederic Nietzsche? (pause) Cool." One …
review by . May 24, 2007
When I first saw this film, I was mightily disapointed. It had been pushed as a comedy, so I expected to, you know, laugh. I didn't. Well, not until the pagent scene. The look on Greg Kinnear's face was priceless, and pretty well summed-up my view of such pagents.    But I could tell there was something good in this movie, so about a month later I watched it again, and was much happier. The performances by the entire cast were wonderful, particularly Alan Arkin. I was also pleased …
review by . April 04, 2007
I saw this with a group of friends who didn't know much about the film. After about 30 minutes, one of them commented, "Is this suppose to be a comedy?" That's pretty much the feeling for the first half of the film, but once the characters are established, the viewer is set up for one of the most charming displays of a family bonding ever in a film.    The family is extremely messed up. It felt like we were visiting a home where we were seeing things that we shouldn't be seeing. …
review by . February 19, 2007
posted in Movie Hype
Imagine a family having dinner. The husband talks about a "Nine Steps To Success" plan he has made into a book, which he plans to sell to the world and make millions. He is obsessed with success because he's had very little success of his own. A little girl watches a beauty pageant with intensity you rarely see in a child, as she dreams of a future that will never come. A teenage boy who appears to hate EVERYONE has taken a vow of silence until he reaches his dream goal of becoming a test pilot! …
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Ilana ()
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I grew up in a redwood home, built in 1898. Listen to this: The place had kitschy '60s wallpaper, a 1950's kitchen, and a time-capsules (hidden in the wall) with 1920's school books. Yes, this was my … more
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Little Miss Sunshine is a comedy-drama about a dysfunctional family's road trip to a children's beauty pageant. The film won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature and starred Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, and Alan Arkin.
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Movies, Comedy Movies, Indie Movies, Alan Arkin Movies, Steve Carell Movies, Steve Carell, Paul Dano Movies, Greg Kinnear Movies, Toni Collette Movies, Abigail Breslin Movies, Little Miss Sunshine
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