Sunshine Cleaning (15)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner24/06/2009

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 91 mins

Enjoyably quirky, emotionally engaging and frequently funny comedy-drama with a sharply observed script and great performances from Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

What's it all about?
Directed by Christine Jeffs, Sunshine Cleaning stars Amy Adams as perky, strapped-for-cash single mother Rose, who persuades her slacker sister Norah (Emily Blunt) to help her start a crime scene cleanup business. With tip-offs from Rose's married policeman lover Mac (Steve Zahn) and valuable advice from kindly, one-armed cleaning supplies salesman Winston (Clifton Collins Jr), the business soon takes off and both sisters develop a newfound respect for one another.

Meanwhile, the girls' grouchy father Joe (Alan Arkin) co-opts Rose's young son Charlie (Jason Spevack) into the latest of his get-rich-quick schemes. At the same time, Rose struggles with both her guilt over being Mac's mistress and her desire to impress her old schoolfriends, while Norah, who's obsessed with the memory of their mother's suicide, stalks and then befriends Lynn (Mary Lynn Rajskub), the daughter of a recent victim.

The Good
Amy Adams is a hugely likeable actress and she's on typically superb form as Rose, lacing her usual adorable sweetness with a slightly tougher edge that's constantly surprising. She's equally matched by Emily Blunt (delivering another note-perfect American accent), who somehow manages to be both frustrating and sympathetic as Norah; she also has an intriguing streak of unpredictability, so you're never quite sure what she's going to do or say next.

In addition, Adams and Blunt have strong sibling chemistry that's entirely believable and forms the emotional heart of the film. There's also great support from Rajskub, while Arkin essentially reprises his grouchy granddad routine from Little Miss Sunshine and Collins Jr and Zahn offer welcome variations on the usual love interest roles.

The Bad
The film's main problem is that the relationship between Rajskub and Blunt seems frustratingly underwritten, just as it starts to get interesting, while the ending to the film feels tacked on and not entirely satisfactory (there are rumours of a different cut of the film).

Worth seeing?
With likeable characters and strong performances, Sunshine Cleaning is an enjoyably quirky comedy-drama that's by turns darkly funny and emotionally engaging. Recommended.

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Sunshine Cleaning (15)
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Content updated: 16/12/2017 12:50

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