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Sunlight Jr.

2014-07-11 14:20
What it's about:

Hard-working convenience store clerk Melissa and her disabled boyfriend, Richie, are trapped in a generational cycle of poverty. Their luck may be changing when they learn that Melissa has become pregnant. But, as soon as she loses her job and they get evicted from their motel, joy vanishes.

Through this adversity, the couple realises that they can never truly lose everything as long as they have each other.

What we thought:

In Sunlight Jr we see a side of American life that is very rarely brought to the screen.  It shatters the great illusion of the American dream and brings to light the plight of the working poor.

Melissa (Naomi Watts) and her disabled boyfriend Richie (Matt Dillion) are stuck in a cycle of poverty, they live in a rundown motel and live from hand to mouth surviving on Melissa’s salary as a convenience cashier and Richie’s disability grant.

Melissa works as a cashier at a convenience store where she’s trying to get into a college through a work funded programme, but her boss (Antoni Corone) is a sexist bully and makes things difficult for her. She’s also being stalked by her ex-boyfriend (Norman Reedus) an ex drug dealer. Richie spends his days fixing appliances, drinking and playing games with neighbours and hanging out at a local bar reminiscing on his days as a construction worker.

Melissa and Richie go through their days and despite the struggles they really love each other. A ray of hope shines on them when Melissa finds out she’s pregnant. This happiness doesn’t last long though. Things spiral out of control fast and Melissa loses her job and they are kicked out of their motel room. The two are forced to move in with Melissa’s alcoholic mom (Tess Harper) who is a foster mother purely for the meagre financial gain.

Noami Watts gives a good performance and  is the star of the show. She makes the character believable and you genuinely feel for her. Despite having a bad upbringing and living in bad circumstances she has a dream to better herself.

This is not an easy film to watch as even the setting lends to the grimness of the story being told. The cinematography is washed out, grainy and dreary.

It is a hard hitting look at poverty and it will leave you feeling hopeless as  in the end you know that this will be the cycle of their lives and that nothing will really change or get better for them.  And while the pair do love each other it leaves you questioning whether love really is enough.

In Sunlight Jr. the great American dream is just that, only a dream.
Read more on:    naomi watts  |  movies

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