Sunshine Cleaning – 2/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

sunshineSunshine Cleaning – 2/5- Not going to have a very deep prologue for this film.  I will start off by saying, sometimes films have some heart, some charm, or something that makes them standout with a specific idea or theme.  Here, we have a movie, with some layers pertaining to certain themes, but overall, it is just something that is forgettable.  For its mediocrity, Sunshine Cleaning does have great characters, and will provide something of value, even if it’s passé.

Premise: In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, Rose (Amy Adams) starts an unusual business; a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service.  In this business, she brings her unreliable sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), on board.  As all begins, folly happens, drama ensues, and what both Rose and Norah learn is that, there is some kind of family bonding, when cleaning up blood from the floor.

In the main character role of Rose, we have Amy Adams.  In this role, she brings across someone that has fallen on hard times.  A single mother, barely making a living as a maid, takes up a proposition from a fellow friend, to start this unique business.  You realize she is a complicated person with confusing ideas on what she wants in this life.  She is trying to find a way to provide for herself and her son, but also has this feeling to rekindle great things from her past.  In this matter, you get layers of intrigue, humility, agony and pain.  The layering helps convince her raw humanity to the audience, providing someone’s struggles that most could relate to.  In the role as her sister, Norah, we have Emily Blunt.  She is the star of the supporting cast and this movie (outside Amy Adams), because she provides a witty, darkly but comical character.  She is someone with no future, but still finds ways to enjoy life.  What you find as the film goes along, Norah’s personality is somewhat a mirage, and there is stuff under the covers, related to her past.  This evolution of Norah’s character is one that can be seen as cliché, but at the same time, the humor and dialogue she has makes her feel like an everyday person, with very relevant sibling problems.  When it comes to the other supporting cast, you have some notable names.  The father, Joe, played by Alan Arkin, the vacuum dealer, Winston, played by Clifton Collins Jr, and the old flame, Mac, played by Steve Zahn.  In these roles, they provide quality to the story, as well as influence in the sister’s lives.  Beyond this, they didn’t do much else to standout in the movie.  Each of the characters has very small screen time, but they provide emotional points of reflection, making them likable and real.

The direction of the film is a linear, life changing moment kind of film.  You have the main character (Rose) who is in a dire situation.  She needs to prove she can be more in her life, as well as provide a great environment for her son.  In this, she gets a break through the biohazard cleaning service.  In this, we get a very subtle, dark humor styled film, portraying a quirky but relevant situation that most of us have been in, with the cleaning service twist.  As the movie moves along this premise, and the cleaning storyline, we get branching side stories (The father/grandson bonding, younger sisters finding purpose).  In this, we get a layering that helps invoke ‘family’ themes, but hinders the direction of the film.  With butting storylines, we never get a cohesive focus on combing the side ‘family issues’ with the cleaning service, as everything is shown as fragments towards the audience.  A quagmire ensues, and some threads become unwanted, or fall to the wayside.  A good example is, at first, the business starts out as a way to help her son get better education.  The story shifts from that premise to a ‘proving yourself’ tone for Rose’s on character development.  This causes the initial premise to get voided, making you think, what the point of it was.  You also see the stirring of a ‘love’ interest between Rose and Winston, but that line is never picked up, making another ‘null’ moment.  By the end of the film, you felt like this movie’s potential fails, as loose threads become agonizing loose, with no closure.  Also, in the climax, you have a ‘cop-out’ ending, which makes you feel like the whole hour and a half was a waste, since what happens could have changed everyone’s outcome in the beginning.

With no mention to the visuals or score, Sunshine Cleaning is movie with a lot of dark humor, charm, but falls flat because of convoluted plot threads, and a cop-out ending.  Great characters in Rose and Norah, but if it wasn’t for the actress in these roles (Amy Adams and Emily Blunt) this would have been a terrible film.  I’d recommend this film as a rental, but nothing more than that.

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