Reviewed by Kate RodgerKiwi director Christine Jeffs (Rain/Sylvia) takes the director’s chair for this quirky, bittersweet little film, and she has a top-flight cast at her beck and call.
The screenplay first came to the attention of the producers of independent hit Little Miss Sunshine, they offered it to Jeffs, and she grabbed it with both hands.
It’s the story of two sisters, one a single mum struggling for a better life for herself and her son, her sister a far less responsible slacker with a knack for saying the wrong thing at the wrong time.
They turn to a life of crime, finding themselves in the business of cleaning up crime-scenes. It pays better than ordinary cleaning, but comes with its own set of challenges, some you might expect, and others not at all. Here is a classic case of life conspiring against the nicest people, as it so often can.
Amy Adams has been twice nominated for an Oscar – first for outstanding performance in Junebug, and again for Doubt. Here she plays solo mum Rose, and Nora (Emily Blunt) is her slacker sister, hell-bent on achieving very little, but who bands together with her sister with unlikely and oftentimes heart-warming results.
The wonderful Alan Arkin steps up as their gruff, grumpy, grieving father Joe, who spends his life dreaming up one crackpot scheme after another on a one-man mission to make them all instant millionaires.
I seem to find myself warming to tales of dysfunctional families more than I should, but there is something strangely compelling and real about stories like this one. The characters have a raw vulnerability which comes through from the script, and the players themselves. Blunt is particularly good in this, and I suspect we’ll see more depths plumbed by this young actress in the years to come.
Beware the faint-hearted, there are some squeamish moments to be had, nothing overly offensive but enough for an R16 rating.
Sunshine Cleaning is another assured and thoroughly enjoyable film from the very talented Christine Jeffs, and well worth a gander.
:: Director: Christine Jeffs
:: Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin
:: Rating: R16
:: Release Date: Playing now
source: newshub archive