Saturday, March 07, 2009

Sunshine Cleaning

Today I screened Sunshine Cleaning, starring Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

Rose (Adams) is a maid, a single mother and a mistress. Her job is dead-end, her son Oscar (Jason Spevack, a dead wringer for the kid in Love Actually) has issues in school, and her married boyfriend is her former high-school sweetheart.

Her sister Nora (Blunt) is less responsible, less balanced, and also has employment challenges. Her father (Alan Arkin), a loving grandfather with his heart in the right place, is a failing salesman.

Life could be better for this family.

One day after Rose and her boyfriend are finished making love in a seedy motel, he tells her of a thriving business he's observed through his own work as a detective: crime scene cleanup. He figures with her experience cleaning houses, she could easily transition to this higher-paying enterprise, and he'll help provide the connections she needs to get started.

Before long, she's enrolled in bio-hazard sanitation classes and has enlisted the help of her sister to act as her sole employee. Because she has a knack for business and an infinitely positive attitude, Rose soon launches the successful Sunshine Cleaning.

All goes well in the first weeks of business (those who are squeamish like me: beware of the first few crime scenes they clean up), then a plot twist, which is completely believable, changes the game for the whole family.

The ending draws to a satisfying close and leaves you hoping that the path the family is on will continue.

Everyone in this film does a superb job of playing their part (even if Alan Arkin's character is just a reprise of his role in Little Miss Sunshine, minus the porn), and hopefully the vastly underrated Amy Adams will finally step out of her "innocent girl" typecasting with this role.

Sunshine Cleaning is a lighthearted drama brought to life by a competent and complementary cast. It feels, sounds and looks like real life.

Go see it.

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