What do you get when you put a divorcee (Toni Collette), a suicidal brother (Steve Carell), a drug addict senior (Alan Arkin), a life coach (Greg Kinnear), a teenager with a vow of silence (Paul Dano) and an adorable six year pageant finalist (Abigail Breslin) into a yellow Volkswagen bus? Well, I'll tell you. You get a roller coaster ride of emotion.
Little Miss Sunshine is about a middle class family, struggling to get by and struggling to keep the pieces of their dysfunctional family together. This is put to an even greater test when they pack up the bus to travel to California so the youngest, little Olive, can compete in a beauty pageant called Little Miss Sunshine.
I'm totally in love with this film and plan to watch it again and again. I laughed really hard and cried numerous times. I'm not a big fan of Steve Carell (40 year old virgin, The Office) but I loved him in this film. Olive first won my heart in M. Night Shyamalan's Signs and again in Raising Helen. All the actors young and old were superb and harmonized one another.
Some may not think the story line is original--family forced to travel together-- but this really is a dynamic group of actors providing quality entertainment from beginning to end. It has some dark subject matter at times; dealing with issues of depression, suicide, drug abuse, unemployment, and death but most are handled with the utmost respect. I said most.
You can't have a film surround an event like a beauty pageant without dealing with the topic of body image, particularly that of the little girl. She's participating in a world where make-up, big hair and being slim are more important than being yourself. Olive doesn't fit the mold. She has long straight hair, wears glasses and has a protruding abdomen (a combination I think is a knock-out for cuteness). Her parents are at odds with how to promote a positive body image while helping her to support her interests. One wants her to experience everything as she is and the other wants to shelter her from the pain. I like the way it was handled.
Little Miss Sunshine is a sweet, hysterical and sad film. I highly recommend seeing it.
Little Miss Sunshine is available at Amazon.com.
Little Miss Sunshine is available at Amazon.ca.