Abigail Breslin’s blue eyes stare at you from behind her big plastic spectacles and it is hard to believe she is just a 10-year-old actress. Her portrayal of Olive, a happy and sweet 7-year-old girl, is like a refreshing breeze of clean air after a long stay in a dark stale room. Olive goes about her day oblivious to her family’s troubles, and unwittingly becomes the anchor pulling them together.
Steve Carell steps up to a semi-dramatic role as Frank, a Proust scholar and professor with a broken heart. The character is dark, moody and in the beginning, just an outsider to the messiness of the Hoover family. The perpetually negative Frank is holed up with the Hoovers and the annoyingly positive Richard after a failed suicide attempt.
Greg Kinnear manages to take what would ordinarily be a loathed character, and make you want to reach out and hug him for being so incredibly dense and unsuccessful. He leaves his wife as sole breadwinner while ineffectively trying to land a book deal with his 9-step “Refuse To Lose” program, and yet we still end up liking him.
Toni Collette is the chain-smoking, overworked mother trying to hold the family together while maintaining her sanity. Her greatness is knowing when to take a back seat and let the story evolve, a character that could easily have gone garish was subdued by Collette’s ability to say a lot without saying anything.
A character that really wasn’t saying anything was Dwayne (Paul Dano), having taken a vow of silence he users a notepad to communicate and delivers the most laughs by simply lifting his head. Dwayne, together with grandpa (Alan Arkin), are hardly the most obviously funny characters, but somehow in this setting it works.
Little Miss Sunshine explores the intricacies of family life in modern America. It touches on serious subjects like weight and diets, child beauty pageants, drugs, homosexuality, and a goal-driven society, while still remaining watchable and entertaining. The familiarity of the characters and deadpan humour of the storyline will have you laughing long after the last credit rolled off the screen.
- Ashlin Simpson
Little Miss Sunshine is a fresh, funny and unassuming exploration of America's obsessive, win-at-all-costs culture.
Just another typical Tom Cruise action film, with nothing to get too excited about. The film is loaded with action-film stereotypes and cheesy one-liners. Read More »
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Hands of Stone is a bland, unlikable portrayal of a real-life boxer that struggles to hit the highs of Rocky IV let alone Raging Bull or the original Rocky. Mark this one down as “for boxing fanatics only”. Read More »
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