movie film review | chris tookey

Sunshine Cleaning

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  Sunshine Cleaning Review
Tookey's Rating
6 /10
Average Rating
5.41 /10
Rose Amy Adams , Norah Emily Blunt
Full Cast >

Directed by: Christine Jeffs
Written by: Megan Holly

Released: 2009
Genre: DRAMA
Origin: US
Colour: C
Length: 102

Indie fare that’s cute if insubstantial.
Reviewed by Chris Tookey

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Amy Adams (pictured left) has emerged over the last few years as the one actress in the world who can make goodness interesting. Whether as the humble country girl in Junebug, the unworldly princess in Enchanted, the junior nun in Doubt or the feisty Amelia Earhart in Night at the Museum 2, she radiates kindness and a positive approach to life.

She’s at it again in Sunshine Cleaning, which is essentially a feelgood character study of a blue-collar woman tidying up the messes left by others – whether these be her feckless sister (Emily Blunt, pictured right), married lover (Steve Zahn) or the school system that is failing her spirited young son (Jason Spevack).

Once she was the high school cheerleading captain who dated the quarterback. Now, she is a thirtysomething single mother who works as a maid. But she finds that she can earn more by cleaning up after crime scenes and grisly suicides.

And that’s it, really. Such story as there is shows the heroine reacting to reverses inflicted on her by the subsidiary characters, many of them smartly observed. Alan Arkin makes an impression as the heroine’s crusty father, full of get rich quick schemes that lead nowhere. Blunt is convincing – and confirms her versatility and gift for comedy - as a directionless flake.
Clifton Collins, Jr, is quietly touching as a one-armed man who dispenses useful advice on cleaning products, and becomes a part-time father-figure to her son.

The film has poor commercial prospects, because its plot is too slender, its tone too blandly upbeat. Nothing is made of the potential for a thriller scenario to develop, or real tragedy to strike at the characters. Impatient viewers may find themselves drumming their fingers and waiting for the plot to start.

All the same, the film is tenderly written by Megan Holley and sensitively directed by Christine Jeffs (who made Sylvia). It pays worthwhile tribute to working women everywhere. Amy Adams is often accused of being a sweet actress, and she is; but she’s a strong one as well, and this winning performance will elevate her already high reputation.

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