Saturday, 24 March 2012

Little Miss Sunshine (2005) - ★★★★

Directors: Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris
Writers: Michael Arndt
Stars: Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Abigail Breslin, Alan Arkin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano

One of my personal favorite films of all time, Little Miss Sunshine is a beautiful and inspiring story of a quarreling family's journey to help their youngest member achieve her dream of winning the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant. With a flawless cast, brilliant dialogue, beautiful destinations and a great moral, it's hard not to fall in love with this film.

Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear are Richard and Sheryl Hoover, the parents of a dysfunctional family on the brink of falling apart due to financial difficulties and lack of things in common. Their son Dwayne, played by Paul Dano, has taken a vow of silence until he achieves his goal of becoming a fighter pilot and visibly hates his parents. Olive, their daughter played by the marvelous Abigail Breslin, is a cute little girl that is completely oblivious to the fights and troubles that is going on around her. The innocence of this little girl that doesn't sweat the small stuff and only focuses on the fun things in life shows that although she doesn't have the life experience or knowledge that the other adults do, she is more mature many aspects. Alan Arkin gives one of his greatest performances as the sex and drug addicted Grandpa of the family. He mentors Olive in her dance routines and constantly builds up her self esteem when her father knocks it down. In one of the most touching scenes I've seen in many years, Olive asks Grandpa if she is pretty. He tells her "I think you're the most beautiful girl in the world." Of course we cannot forget the knockout performance of Steve Carrell, playing a gay, intelligent and suicidal man that slowly gets his spirit to live back throughout the journey. All of these performances were just incredible and were the highlight of the movie.

There was much hilarity in this film as well as subtle jabs at the pageant industry for being too critical and judgmental of little girls who just want to feel pretty. I believe this is one of the best road-trip movies that has been made. It packs so much feeling and conflict between the family members that you don't know whether to feel sorry for them or to hate them. The ending brought them all together and made them see the bigger picture. That no matter how much we may hate our lives, at least we've got a family to fall back on and build us up again.

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