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Home Reviews Cinema reviews Sunshine Cleaning
Sunshine Cleaning Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Friday, 26 June 2009 15:01
Director: Christine Jeffs
Cast: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Clifton Collins Jr
Certificate: 15
Another year, another indie film with its dysfunctional family wearing t-shirts that say "Look at me, I'm quirky!" But Rose (Adams) and Norah (Blunt) Lorkowski are about to cover up their funky, offbeat t-shirts with biohazard suits. Biohazard suits? Whoah, how funky and offbeat. What's next? A grandfather played by Alan Arkin? Oh look, a grandfather. And he's played by Alan Arkin. So goes the life of crime scene clean-up, apparently.

Trundling between corpses and cleaning shops, the Lorkowski sisters are two of a kind - the stereotypical kind. Rose is bright and cheery, but secretly soured by self-loathing. Norah is racoon-eyed and wayward, content with rolling her eyes while Rose smiles at everyone. As they stroll diwb the script's predictable paths, the relationship between the two is all down to the leads; you'd be hard pressed to find anyone more sincere than Adams or Blunt, both of whom bring their best elements to the chemistry that sparks on-screen.

Alan Arkin is less impressive, rehashing his role from Little Miss Sunshine - a film the producers clearly want to remake. A shame, really, given that the Oscar-contender wasn't really that incredible in the first place. While the obvious bits fall flat, it's the subtler areas that seem to work: Clifton Collins Jr brings a creepy charm to his one-armed model-making salesman, a random suitor for Rose, and 24's Chloe (Mary Lynn Rajskub) turns up as an even stranger love interest for Norah. Nice acting, shame about the story.

Still, even with its trademark turns and laboured life-lessons, Sunshine Cleaning somehow sneaks in and steals your sympathy. It's amiable stuff, but not the classic it wants to be.


A mainstream indie with a commercial agenda, Sunshine Cleaning comes through with its cast. The screenplay's sickly; they're somewhat engaging.


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