Sunshine Cleaning

Amy Adams as Rose Lorkowski and Emily Blunt as Norah Lorkowski, in Christine Jeffs' comedy drama, which expanded to additional theaters today and
next Friday in the U.S. and Canada.  (Photo: Overture Films)
Cleaning Up Amidst The Sunshine Of Anonymous Sunsets
By Omar P.L. Moore/   SHARE
Friday, March 20, 2009

Christine Jeffs directs "Sunshine Cleaning", a film bearing a few similarities to the Oscar-winning film "Little Miss Sunshine" (2006) but with greater depth and character study.  Megan Holley's screenplay is drawn tightly, placing the contrasts between Rose and Norah Lorkowski, sisters at a crossroads in their lives, with their father, a widower (Oscar-winner Alan Arkin) looking to start yet another business to quickly get him back in the money.  Rose (Amy Adams) is a single mother in her thirties and her younger sibling Norah (Emily Blunt) has absolutely no direction in her life.  Once a cheerleader in high school, Rose leaves her maid job and keeps her head above water with her own post-mortem cleanup removal business, which has become her only source of income as she attempts to get her son into a better school in New Mexico.  Norah helps out in the clean-up business, though not always in the most constructive way.

The film weaves flashbacks of Rose and Norah's childhoods to add weight to a drama sprinkled with comedic moments.  There's longing, a flirtation, mild eroticism, confusion, regret, anguish and sibling rivalry, all combining in a film that deserves to be better than it actually is.  Shown at the Sundance Film Festival last year, "Sunshine Cleaning" features a great performance by Clifton Collins Jr. as a hardware store owner who is benevolent and sympathetic enough to the tough difficult times that Rose faces to help her out.  Ms. Adams ("Doubt", "Charlie Wilson's War", "Enchanted") and Miss Blunt ("The Great Buck Howard", "Charlie Wilson's War", "Dan In Real Life", "The Devil Wears Prada") are great together as sisters, generating a striking partnership and chemistry.  Oddly enough, when they are in separate scenes they seem to lack a certain je ne sais quoi.  Mr. Arkin neither adds nor subtracts from the film, although "Sunshine Cleaning" could have used more scenes involving Mr. Collins as well as Mary Ann Rajskub, who plays a woman who has lost her mother.

"Sunshine Cleaning" has heartwarming moments and sad ones, but when all is said and done, it's a good film, but one that can be enjoyed just as much on DVD as on the big screen.

With: Jason Spevack and Steve Zahn.

"Sunshine Cleaning" is rated R by the Motion Picture Association Of America for language, disturbing images, some sexuality and drug use.  The film's duration is one hour and 42 minutes.

Copyright The Popcorn Reel.  2009.  All Rights Reserved.



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