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Wenesday Night Movie Suggestions: Sunshine Cleaning

Updated on October 29, 2014

Sunshine Cleaning: A Lot Darker Than You Would Expect

When Rose (Amy Adams) can't afford to put her son through school, she decides to start her own business of cleaning up people's homes after a loved one has died. It becomes a family business when her father and sister get involved. The title is a misnomer since it would lead you to believe that it's a happier kind of story, but the subject matter, although dark, provides many helpful life anecdotes.

The movie covers several notions, including death, suicide, infidelity, love, family ties, and the importance of an education. The two sisters haven't been close in years, so it's ironic that the death of others would bring them together, despite their awareness of their mother's suicide. A key scene that comes up is when their mother is seen on TV as an extra in a movie. She always told her daughters about this role, and they know the line about the pie by heart. The one calls the other when the movie comes on TV and they watch their mother together, sharing a moment of both dissonance and clarity.


Emily Blunt is perfect as the sister you would never want as a babysitter, but must turn to when there's nobody else. She's just the right amount of immature and responsible, and you can tell she honestly cares about helping her family as long as they're willing to help her. Her moment in the film comes when she's underneath the tracks of a train, experiencing life in a way that only she understands.

This film has its characters battling life's realities in a new fashion with a comedic twist. Alan Arkin is possibly the best as the father of the two leading ladies. He shows his daughters the way and leads his grandson astray. He's the one who shows and tells everybody what they're looking for and what they need to hear. They'll all be cleaning up more than just houses when they realize everything is right in front of them and there for the taking.

Our protagonist, Rose, finds that her family, though easiest to distrust, is the best answer for all of her problems. Making wrong decisions for most of her life, she turns it all around when she makes amends with those whose love for her is unconditional.

From the producers of Little Miss Sunshine, Sunshine Cleaning is a good movie for any night of the week.

Rated R for language, disturbing images, some sexuality and drug use.

Other recommendations with a similar feel: Little Miss Sunshine, Up in the Air, Ruby Sparks



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