Tuesday 22 July 2008

Little Miss Sunshine [2006]

Just when you thought you are being served with yet another hackneyed tale of the American Dream gone awry, one is served with Little Miss Sunshine – a delicious, quirky, delirious, bitterly satirical black comedy that manages to stroke one’s head and hit a vicious punch below one’s belt with equal aplomb. A terrific chronicling of an eventful cross-country trip, to the eponymous beauty pageant for kids, undertaken by a fast-crumbling dysfunctional family, comprising of some of the most unforgettably atypical characters (each as idiosyncratic and obsessively self-occupied as the other), Little Miss Sunshine is as hilarious with its vitriolic humour as it is cerebral because of its wicked depiction of identity crisis and the vicious cycle of love and loss. Fantastic performance by every single member of its ensemble cast, aided by direction that is as good as one can aspire, has ensured that it isn't just a movie that has managed to break moulds with facile ease, it is also one of the finest on American Dream (lost and found) – you laugh, without realizing you are being gently pinched all the while.

Director: Jonathan Dayton
Genre: Black Comedy/Social Satire/Road Movie/Family Drama/Ensemble Film
Language: English
Country: US


Ed Howard said...

This is a nice, funny, quirky little film. The film was perhaps overly hyped because for the most part, mainstream entertainment simply doesn't provide this kind of light but intelligent comedy anymore. It used to be that Hollywood was very good at making this kind of picture; nowadays, a modest entertainment like this is hailed like it's the savior of movies. It's unfortunate, because the film itself is really enjoyable, with great performances and a warm celebration of difference that really stands out in a cultural climate where a "happy ending" usually consists of the "misfit" learning to fit in.

Shubhajit said...

Touche Ed. Indeed such unpretentious, bitter, unflinchingly honest (without any audiance friendly sugar coating) and at times uncomfortable comedy is rare in mainstream cinema. This the kind of movie that is equally adept at entertaining as well as disturbing the viewers. At least it did for me.

1minutefilmreview said...

Wait a minute there friendly moviegoer...'Trainspotting', 'Following' and 'The Lives Of Others' all received 4 Stars but 'Little Miss Sunshine' is 4.5 Stars? It's in the same league as 'Cinema Paradiso', 'History Of Violence' and 'Blood Simple'? Please tell us it isn't so please otherwise our whole world will crumble...

Shubhajit said...

Well, thats a nice point that you have raised. Rating is wholly a matter of personal opinion, for the simple reason that film appreciation is a very subjective matter. I'm sure you would agree on that. There are few movies which got ratings from you that i don't agree on. And thats the whole point. After all if we agree on every issue, there wouldn't be a debate on the first place. After all, the same movie that gets huge applauds from one critic ends up being lambasted by some other critic. Thats the whole fun of it i guess. What do you say?

So here's my answer to your question - yes 4.5 stars for Little Miss Sunshine. Even though made within the Hollywood studio system, I found it to be a terrific (though underrated) black comedy. And for some reason i really connected with the movie, as if each character portrayed a slice of my very self.

Thanks for pointing out one thing though. I don't know why i gave A History of Violence 4.5 Stars even though it deserves a 5-star rating. i've updated it accordingly.

1minutefilmreview said...

Well said. We agree wholeheartedly that movies are very subjective to personal tastes.

There is however, 1 thing that has been in our minds. You see, without a bad movie ever being posted in your blog, we are left wondering what constitutes a good movie for you. All your reviews have been 3 Stars and upwards.

a) You have a radar for bad movies and have thus avoided every turkey.
b) You are in the process of changing the name of your blog to 'Great Movies: Appreciation of Cinema's Finest' or
c) You couldn't care less to write about bad movies.

With respect, having a bad movie reviewed in your blog would serve as a useful template for knowing what then floats your boat. Just 1 will suffice. 1 movie that is below 3 Stars. After all, if you're not going to use the lesser Stars in your ratings system, why put it there? Why tease us so cruelly? It's like Superman using his powers of flight, strength, etc but never once using his x-ray vision to look at hot naked chicks. It doesn't seem plausible to us. Come to the dark side with us...

Shubhajit said...

Thanks for the great comment, really enjoyed the way you have put it with the nice analogies. In fact you've made a very apt suggestion.

A few other people too have asked me to review some truly terrible movies; and honestly speaking there are quite a few movies i've seen that fall in that category. So reviews of a few such movies is indeed overdue. Till now I have stuck to the 3+ movies (as you have put it) primarily because of time constraints. But thats simply no excuse. The 2nd point you have mentioned too is a reason.

Anyway, the next movie review i post will be of a movie with sub-3 rating, though not a ZERO rated one. And hoping to post it later today. So hopefully after that Superman won't remain that queer after all. ;)