Victoria Jelinek


Sunshine Cleaning
December 31, 2015, 2:54 pm
Filed under: Published film reviews | Tags: , , , , , , ,

sunshine_cleaning_movie_posterThe heroine, Rose, is a single mom in need of a regular income who starts a business cleaning up crime scenes. The circumstances that prompt her need are multi-faceted. She’s poor. She’s trapped in an affair with her high-school sweetheart, who fathered her son but then married someone else. Her son is perpetually in trouble at school. Her mother is dead. Her father is a ‘chancer,’ whose moneymaking ideas almost never come off. And her sister, Norah, is a hard-living numskull.

Rose is a good mom. She ‘gets’ her son, and he seems like a nice boy, but the teachers and administrators accuse him of misbehaving and she can’t afford to send him to “a good school.” It’s Mac, the faithless love that abandoned her in the first place, that tips her off to the idea of a new business venture. He’s a cop who notices people get paid well for cleaning up after gruesome murders, and so Sunshine Cleaning is born. By the very nature of the work, Rose and Norah (who helps Rose with the business), witness the aftermath of lives irrevocably interrupted.

Does this sound sunny to you? It’s hard to make a feel-good film about murder scene clean- ups and broken lives. While the material has promise as a black comedy, Sunshine Cleaning’s attempt to keep a smiling face throughout is artificial. That said, it is a watchable film due to its cast. Amy Adams as Rose, and Emily Blunt as Norah, are effortlessly charming. As is Alan Arkin, who plays their father, perpetually hatching get-poor-quick schemes, and whose rapport with Rose’s son is heart-warming. If you’re in the mood for good acting, high production value, and can overlook the excessive cheerfulness of the script, despite the circumstances and events of the plot, then this is a movie worth watching.

 

 

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