Sunshine Cleaning is really normal. Normal in the sense that for once we are seeing the average person dealing with some pretty average stuff. A fair share of disappointment, trauma, sadness, love and laughter. Amy Adams does not have to portray quirky or cute just normal and it’s refreshing.
Of course, she takes up quite an unusual occupation but considering her previous career it’s a not too surprising step to a bit more money. Cleaning is cleaning after all. Why not just escalate and clean up dead people mess? Maybe not very normal it’s true.
I love Amy Adams and it’s so nice to see her being the woman next door rather than the cute sweet love interest with flowing hair extensions and covered in make-up. I also love Emily Blunt who plays the a little less normal, but struggling with normal issues for some, sister.
Sunshine Cleaning is a meaningful family drama about the impact of death on the family especially the impact of suicide on those left behind. Suicide of a family member changes everyone and it certainly changed the characters in the film. It is a defining moment in all their lives.
Sunshine Cleaning is not all doom and gloom. The characters are realistic and humour certainly raises its dark head. The film is not all about dealing with death but it is very much about dealing with how lives are shaped. Why we find ourselves where we are and how much we change along the way.
These are good people having a hard time and each deals with it differently but at the core is love and that never fails.
Again refreshingly, there is no real romance in the movie. There are new friendships that could end up romantic but not during the movie anyway. This is a film about family.
I actually think this could have made the basis of a really good tv show. It was so character driven and reasonably undramatic. I could just see how much more the story and the characters could develop over a season. (I’m thinking along the lines of Six Feet Under here.)
Alan Arkin again hits the nail on the head with his loving but abrasive father/grandfather. He’d do anything for his kids/grandkids and it’s kind of lovely. Only a few actors could really pull off that fine line between grump and love. He did it before in Little Miss Sunshine. He does it again here. (Apparently he has a thing for Sunshine films… he was super annoyed he didn’t get a role in the ultimate Sunshine movie ‘Sunshine’… yeah, you can quote me on that).
Sunshine Cleaning won’t blow you away but it does leave you feeling pretty good. Yet it’s not feel good either, it is after all about cleaning up after dead people and dealing with a family tragedy. It’s hard to say why you’d want to watch it but at the same time it’s a really good little film.
I suppose it made me feel that adversity can be overcome, you can change who you are for the better, and if you can’t do anything else, you can be there for the ones you love. Not a bad thing to take away from a film really.