Thursday, March 29, 2007

Movie Review: Little Miss Sunshine

Cast: Abigail Bresnil ( Olive) , Greg Kinnear (Richard), Paul Dano (Dwayne), Alan Arking ( Granddad), Toni Colette (Sheryl)

Direction: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris

Plot: Olive is a cute little girl who is enamored by beauty contestants and when she gets a chance to participate in the Little Miss Sunshine contest in California, her entire family makes the journey with her. Along the way a dysfunction family, bonds in a unique way.

Its actually quite difficult to classify this movie. I don't know whether the movie is supposed to make a statement or not. Olive’s family is dysfunctional. Her dad is a guy who classifies everyone as a winner/loser and is caught in the warp of his own 9 steps of success. Her brother is a Neitzche follower who has taken a vow of silence and wants to be a pilot. Grandpa is a cocaine snorting garrulous chap. Her uncle (mom’s brother), is recovering from a suicide attempt (due to a failed love affair with a male student). Olive’s mom is the sane character in the middle of this, who believes that she has to let people be, her pressure handling only intercepted by smoking.

The journey across 2 days to California in a mini-bus (as the flight is too expensive) begins with a group of people lost in themselves. The dad loses his book deal and wants to live the success through his daughter, the granddad trains the daughter, Frank (uncle) and Dwayne fight their own demons and are close to breaking down. It is only on the death of Grandpa that the characters realize that probably the little girl deserves a shot at what she has prepared for. The girl though wants her dad’s acceptance of a winner and does the act, a striptease to ‘we are greater than thou’ artificial audience and when the family joins her on the stage for the dance, you kind of feel elated. Feel good, maybe not- but it just is something good. It was a good performance, and each of us are individuals but cannot be stuck in an inward looking gloom. I need to categorize man, so pardon the message from the movie.

Could the family be anywhere on the planet? Yes, only the individuality aspect is probably a little bit American. But we have heard of crazy families, but the act of bringing them together is subtle and the artificiality of the pageant for kids is seen to be believed. Some spectacular music (the guitar piece when the country side is shown), splendid acting and great direction ensures that the movie is probably one of the best of last year.

The girl retains her innocence- ‘Grandpa is in the trunk’, Dwayne(even if he thinks his home is hell) asks his sis to hug her mom, Grandpa reassures dad….Frank reminding everyone that he is a preeminent Proust scholar. And people in families have individual aspirations. How they handle them is the question.

Rating: 8/10

1 comment:

Govar said...

Yep, a vry interesting movie. And for once, I didn't know whether I liked it or hated it. :) I did classify the movie though - wacko genre. :-P