Day 54: Sunshine Cleaning (2008)


I am waiting ever so patiently for the UPS truck to arrive. Ever so patient, I am. You see, the UPS truck has precious cargo—or at least, precious to me—Fallout: New Vegas. Now, I won’t waste your time talking about how psyched I am for this video game; I did enough of that yesterday. But still, I wait. To pass the time (and to knock off another title from the list), I watched Sunshine Cleaning. Yeah, I’ll be honest; I chose it because it was 91 minutes long. Hey, I have to save some of this motivation for Fallout, right?

 

Sunshine Cleaning stars Amy Adams as Rose, and Emily Blunt as Norah, her sister. Rose cleans houses for a living to support her son. Norah, on the other hand, seems to bounce between jobs and lives with her father (played by Alan Arkin). In an effort to earn a little money, Rose and Norah team up to clean up the crap that nobody else wants to—crime scenes and biohazard sites. Eew.

 

Although not a lot happens in this film, I found myself sucked into the story. There is not a huge obstacle for the women to overcome (except for getting used to the stench of the clean-up sites), there is no real villain out to get them, and there is no ten-minute long car chase scene where a vacuum cleaner company is pursued at high speeds by the steam clean-mobile. Yeah, those scenarios apparently didn’t fit in well to the plot. What we are shown is a bunch of family interactions.

 

Rose and Norah lost their mother at a young age; and their father is always trying the next big thing to get rich quick. It’s too bad he didn’t invent the Snuggie. It’s a blanket with arms! No more struggling to answer the phone or handle the remote. Alas, he sells shrimp and caramel corn (only not together. That would be a strange bundle). Alan Arkin is quite wonderful in this role. He is sincere—with a little pinch of crazy (the good crazy, not the crazy where you argue to yourself “tastes great; less filling” for hours and seriously wonder which will win). Although he does not have as much screen time as Adams and Blunt, I think he totally stole the show.

 

This is not to say that I thought two leads did poorly in their roles. Actually, I liked their dynamic. I wasn’t super fond of the way they styled Blunt’s character (do all unreliable, somewhat disturbed people wear army boots, tons of funky jewelry, and have blue streaks dyed in their hair? I kind of feel like that is a little overdone in film and TV, but what do I know? I am wearing a pair of jeans with a hole where my back pocket used to be–not the trendy kind of rip, either—so I’m probably not allowed to judge fashion).

 

Perhaps typical of some independent films (and, some would argue, life), the film does not really resolve itself at the end. There is no nice, neat conclusion to the characters’ story arcs– they just continue to live their lives. And while it does leave a few questions in my mind as to what happens next, it is not an unsettling feeling. We are not dealing with a cliff hanger here, so the audience can walk away somewhat satisfied.

 

I will say I was actually pleasantly surprised at this film. With a weaker cast, this film would have probably sucked. It is a character-driven piece, and therefore requires excellent acting to pull it off. I would point out, however, that I did not find it to be a “comedy” as it is categorized. It is more of a drama with a few funny moments. All in all, I would say it was a fairly enjoyable film.

 

Well, I have to run. I found a nice package on my doorstep. Time for my date with the PS3.

 

Have a wonderful day!:)

 

Score: B-

Netflix Queue: 464

Netflix Watch Instantly Queue: 201

Woot! One more movie that I can take off both lists! 😀


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