Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Tagline: “Everyone just pretend to be normal” I gave up on this about 25 years ago.
Premise: A dysfunctional family race across America in a battered old camper van to get their ten year old daughter to a beauty pageant in time.
Delivery: “Yeah, and get me some porn. Get me something really nasty too, I don't want any of that airbrushed shit.”
I'm going to say this early, Little Miss Sunshine is one of my favourite films ever. It is at once hilarious, sad and uplifting. Three contrasting emotions which work in perfect harmony together on screen, much like the family dynamics of the Hoover family (or indeed, any family) the film so brilliantly reflects. The Hoovers, at first, appear most odd. Hence the tagline.
The family rundown is as such: a suicidal uncle jilted by a man he loves, a teenage son who has taken a vow of silence, a fraught mother, a father with delusions of grandeur, a foul mouthed, sex obsessed grandfather* and the sweet ten year old girl who doesn't seem cut out for beauty pageants. The film's rather on-point beginning, with Steve Carell's Frank coming to live with his sister after a suicide attempt, only hints at the humour hidden in the film's 100 minutes.
Laughs jump out at you from nowhere throughout Little Miss Sunshine. No more so than from the filthy Grandpa, played by Alan Arkin- in spectacular form. His dirtbag ways and total disregard for the parenting he sees is both hilarious and what will stick in your mind most. However the film has a whole cast of stand out performances and unique characters. Every single actor here shines, but no more so than a then ten year old Abigail Breslin, who received an Oscar nomination for her part. Ten years old; yes, she's that good.
Just when you think it'll die down and get the third act joke-jitters, Little Miss Sunshine bursts beyond family comedy-drama and into the realms of a kind of unique greatness. Yes, I said it, greatness. This is a film about family, as frustrating, sorrowful and wonderful as they are.
Bedsit it? What are you still reading for? You should be on a website purchasing (“purchasing”) Little Miss Sunshine. Even if you've seen it, watch it again, you won't regret it. 10/10
*No prizes for guessing which character the quote is from.