Little Miss Sunshine is definitely in my top 10 list of favorite movies. That’s right. I am 100% behind this movie and demand that anyone who reads this article should get to the theater and show your support! It’s a wonderfully done movie with superb acting by each and every actor. The ensemble of actors that create this dysfunctional family don’t outshadow each other at all but instead, complement their acting abilities. In all honesty, I want to jump up and down and yell “Go see it!” without any formal review of why, but, seeing as how that’s not going to happen, let me go ahead and tell you why this movie is as worthwhile as I claim.
The ensemble for Little Miss Sunshine is nothing short of amazing. Each and every actor does such a great job in their own right, you end up wishing they could all win an award for their performance. The Hoover family is made up of Richard (Greg Kinnear), the father and annoyingly obsessed motivational speaker who speaks on how to be successful in life – which ultimately ends up being the running theme in the movie. Toni Collette plays Sheryl and does a perfect job playing the nurturing mother who buries her frustration with her husband while frantically trying to keep her family from falling apart. Their two children are Dwayne and Olive played by Paul Dano and Abigal Breslin, respectively. Dwayne is a Nietzsche driven follower who has taken a vow of silence until he reaches his life goal of becoming a pilot in the Air Force Academy. Bresline does such a beautiful job of playing 7-year-old Olive in this film. Olive is portrayed as the curiously inquisitive and extremely lovable child who’s got the energy and personality of three 7-year-olds put together. Steve Carrell plays Uncle Frank, the Proust scholar who has attempted suicide after losing his gay lover. Rounding off this family is heroin addicted Grandpa who is played by the always spectacular, Alan Arkin.
As stated before, the movie’s running theme is success and winning. Olive is to compete in California’s beauty pagent competition and the entire family decides to rally behind her and drive to California from their home in Arizona. This drive involves so much more than just a weekend getaway. Little Miss Sunshine’s touching story depicts each family member coming to terms with their own issues and the realization that life in this “winner-loser” society is one they do not have to succumb to. They realize that even though they may not be in the ideal life situation, they have much more substance and worth within themselves and most importantly, in each other to make their life worth it.
I think what made me feel like this movie hit home with me was how relatable it was. I swear it was my family that was shown on the big screen. The story couldn’t have been more realistic in terms of how our modern day family relates to each other and how they acknowledge each other’s goals and life dreams. I found myself desperately hoping things would come out favorable for the Hoovers. At the end of the movie, I realized they had and I went home playing the movie in my mind over and over again. There were a number of key scenes in the movie can be looked at as a commentary on our society today. One of these scenes was with Dwayne and Uncle Frank on the beach outside of the beauty pagent show. Uncle Frank relays some advice about life’s struggles and how that these struggles are what make you what you are. This concept strikes a chord with Dwayne and realizes that he doesn’t have to strive to achieve these “ideals” society sets for us. The beauty pagent becomes the foreground for the literal expression of this concept.
In terms of the acting for Little Miss Sunshine, the break-out actors for me were Breslin, Carrell and Collette. Breslin playing the highly ambitious Olive is so beautiful and touching, I can’t believe a child that young was able to do it! It was so realistic and made me think of a number of family members who were just like her. Because Carrell was the draw for me to see this movie, I was happy to see a different side of him. I knew he would be able to pull it off because comedians tend to play dramatic roles with ease, or so it seems. I was happy to see that he didn’t overshadow many of the other actors since he was part of an ensemble cast. He did steal some scenes – but never overpowered any of the acting talent. Toni Collette was superb as the nurturing mother who tries her best to hold this family together. Her portrayal as the frenzied mother was done so well and without any hesitation on her part. She was very believable in her struggle to keep her family from killing each other and at the same time, giving each and every one of them just enough attention to keep them on the right track.
I am so happy that I finally got to see this movie. It definitely was one of the movies I was looking forward to all summer long – and it was well worth the wait. I’m almost sure this movie will touch the hearts of all viewers. It may even cause you to reevaluate your own “winning = successful” involvement. I strongly suggest that you check this movie out because I feel pretty confident in saying there isn’t going to be another movie who’s cast is as strong and as relatable in their depictions. With Oscar season still a while away, it seems to me that it’s pretty much a guarantee that Little Miss Sunshine will receive more than just a nomination. I’m hoping a few Oscar nods will go its way – with all the buzz surrounding this movie already – it’s safe to bet on it. Once you seeLittle Miss Sunshine, you’ll see why it deserves an A+ in every category available to it.