How does it feels to live in a family where everybody is totally f**ked up and you just didn't care because you have won or went into a prestigious event like a beauty pageant. Well it will take a car trip, suffering, wacky situations and failings in it to know the answer. You want to know the shortcut. Watch Little Miss Sunshine.
Little Miss Sunshine is an indie flick from 2006 distributed by the studio which gave us Juno, (500) Days Of Summer and Black Swan. Its focused on a family the Hoovers on the edge of failings and who have already failed. SO they are a family of failures or losers. There's the matriarch Sheryl (Toni Collette) who is overworked and is pro-honesty. Her husband Richard (Greg Kinnear) is a motivational speaker and he want his family to become winners, not losers and more of pro-success. Her brother Frank (Steve Carrell) a Proust scholar who attempted suicide because his lover went for another man. And then there's her kids. Her teenage son Dwayne (Paul Dano) who came from another marriage is silent until he becomes a test pilot and daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin). Richard's dad Edwin (Alan Arkin) is evicted from the retirement home for using heroin. When Olive is selected at the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in California, they take a 500 mile trip with their Volkswagen since they have little money and cannot leave Frank, Dwayne behind. During the trip they face death, disasters and glitches.
Little Miss Sunshine is directed by Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Plume and written by Michael Arndt. Arndt's screenplay seems to have worked because like he wrote for Toy Story 3, it's really dark but at the same time its realistic (well not for Toy Story 3) and holds an honest portrait of one really fractured family and when entering the real world it will hold you back. But it also have heart and compassion and gives us a harsh message. Dreams can't come true.
Greg Kinnear show idiosyncrasy in his character who suffers when he realizes his motivational success program collapses. Alan Arkin is hilarious as the grandfather who supports Olive all the way to the paegaent and Abigail Breslin whose character has little flaws while everyone has troubles steals her scenes and gives us a surprise from what he taught her. Most of the cast are great. This is Carrell's best performance of his career so far and Dano is really wicked as the regularly distant son who like Kinnear suffers when his goals are ruined. Dano's character feels like he's has Aspergers because he is distant from everybody and still he's tightly into his interests. And Collette makes a great impact as the overly supportive mother.
Little Miss Sunshine has a bit of undertone from American Beauty. It's the question of what's beauty and the fact that in Little Miss Sunshine everyone breaks down where conflict, suffering slowly destroys their dreams. More importantly it's more into the insight of these people as the search of the American Dream is wrecked.
But when the've finally reached the beauty pageant you'll know that it's going to be full of snobby contestants and mothers that once the Hoovers found out, its either enough is enough or let Olive do her own thing. LMS is hilarious where Arkin actually is the majority of the humor and the glitches they've faced is also part of it.
It may goes into the old cliche where you are reaching your dreams the most important thing is the people supporting you, which is your family. But where the Hoovers are really dysfunctional and conflicted it's really understanding and connecting.
LMS has this somewhat political stance where it's really liberal with Sheryl's pro-honesty stance and conservative with Richard's pro-success beliefs which kinda has let down this movie. but otherwise it is great movie and I recommend to anyone who's dreams are cursed and are pretending to be normal.