Little Miss Sunshine

16Feb07

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Oh my God, I’m getting pulled over. Everyone, just… pretend to be normal.

I love little films. I saw this one shortly after I watched the truly incredible The Squid and the Whale and I realised I love stories about dysfunctional families. However, this film is no American Beauty but it is enchantingly likeable in it’s own way.

The story follows the Hoovers, a dysfunctional family with so many colorful characters that it truly is a proverbial clown car of sorts. Richard Hoover (Greg Kinnear) is a high strung motivational speaker who is unsuccesful to say the least inspite of his irritating ’winner’ attitiude. Sheryl, his wife is an over worked, ciggarette addicted and constantly depressed mother. The film however belongs to Abigail Breslin who plays Olive Hoover, the little girl whose one dream is to win the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Add to that, characters layed by Steve Carrell (a gay Proust scholar), Alan Arkin (the very enlightened/perverted grandfather) and my favorite, Paul Dano who plays Dwayne; an embittered, angst-ridden and Nietzsche-reading teenager, who has taken a vow of silence until he becomes a test pilot for the Air Force.

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All of them embark on a hilarious road trip to California to enroll Olive in the beauty pageant. On the way, the family comes apart at the seams. Tragedy lurks around every corner but inspite of having such dark undertones, the movie is very funny.

The film is very small in magnitude and does not pretend to be an important film in any way. Maybe that’s what makes it so loveable. The scenes are beautifully shot in the true spirit of Independent cinema but it’s the actors that truly take this show on the road! No pun intended.

Abigail Breslin is an amazing child actress; the film truly belongs to her. The scene in which she listens to the answering machine…incredible! Steve Carrell does a fine job playing a suicidal gay academic. Somehow, he is the most sane character. The rest of the cast is excellent, to say the least.

There is something about this film that I can’t quite put my finger on. Something that makes it a joy to watch. Maybe it’s all these flaws that keep getting played out on film that make it so…relateable. The characters are beautifully etched out, the acting is marvellous and there are little moments in the film that can make you introspect.

One of my favorite films from 2006. 9/10. Believe the hype!

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10 Responses to “Little Miss Sunshine”

  1. Interesting, comprehensive review.

  2. 2 bApHoMEt

    must check this film out. watched most of the oscar biggies so far. 9/10 eh? must be quite good then.

  3. @baphomet I have this thing for small comedies. You should also check out The Squid and the Whale. I for one thought it was an excellent film!

  4. 4 soorajrox

    the answering machine scene- gave me goosepimples man….wow …wonderful acting.
    amd lol…..man the last part of the beauty pagent….F### i didnt see that coming….I was laughing my lungs out. this film got inside my top 5 movies.

  5. @Sooraj
    U have a list too ?

  6. 6 soorajrox

    @ daedulus
    it’s ‘the list’ maann
    ok admit it, we get inspired from this guy in some way or the other :-)…(seriously homie no pun intended, in a good way)

  7. @sooraj I also love the few lines that Dwayne says after he starts talking…the conversation between him and Steve Carrell’s character. Man! One good film!

  8. 8 soorajrox

    I also like it when they get in the car :)….the mood in the movie was very nice

  9. Excellent review! I agree 100%. I dont really know what makes the movie so great, it’s a hidden joy.

  10. ya so hot paul i am in love with you!!! s2


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