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When have you last seen a comedy film that was so powerful in terms of content, performances, and comedy that it went on winning two Academy Awards for Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor along with a nomination of Best Supporting Actress? Well, for me, it is a film once made in a decade. Little Miss Sunshine is a road movie and most of the movie happens on the way to California for a beauty pageant called Little Miss Sunshine. The movie screened at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival and got a worldwide release on August 18, 2006. Made on a shoestring budget of $8M, the movie made more than $100M worldwide. Apart from its commercial success, the movie got critical acclaim as well and went on winning many awards. You get a glimpse of every important character in the film in first two-minutes. An 8-year-old girl, wearing thick eye-glasses, is standing in front of a TV where she is watching the impressions of a girl who has just become Miss Universe and the little girl is trying to make the same impressions. A middle-aged man is teaching a bunch of students his nine-step refuse-to-lose program and is telling them how they will become winners if they adopt this program. A 15-year-old slim guy is shown doing some exercise and noting down the numbers on daily basis. An old man is sneaking into a bathroom and is taking drugs. A lady is driving a car to a hospital where someone she knows is admitted and she is telling her husband that the person has nowhere else to go. At last we see that lady getting to the hospital and meeting her brother who has attempted suicide and takes him home. Well, how are they related? They''re family. Olive is the 8-year-old girl and her father, Richard, is trying to sell his program to someone named Stan Grossman. Olive''s brother, Dwayne, has taken some sort of vow that says he won''t speak until he gets into a flying school. And Dwayne hates everyone from his family. Her uncle Frank is brought home to live with them for a few days, of which her father is not happy much. Anyways, Frank is told to share Dwayne''s room as he is not allowed a single moment alone. There is a message on the telephone which says that Olive is selected to participate in Little Miss Sunshine as the regional winner has opted out. She is all happy and shouting and is all confident of winning due to her talent, dancing. She has been working on dancing for a long time and guess who her dancing-coach is, her grandpa. But the problem is that the competition is in California and they don''t have enough money to go there by air or by train. And there is this thing with Richard where he is always talking about his nine-steps, lecturing everyone he gets his hands on. He asks Olive if she is confident of winning as there is no point in going Pictures of Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) LMS1 - Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) LMS1 - Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) LMS2 - Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) LMS3 - Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) LMS4 - Little Miss Sunshine (Blu-ray) if you don''t think you''re going to win. Olive says she is confident. And thus they decide to go to California in a hired van. Oh, did I tell you about their family relationships? As you know, Frank attempted suicide and that makes him a loser forever, according to Richard''s program. So he is taking on Frank every now and then. Also, Richard is making no money, and therefore there are fights between Richard and his wife every now and then. Dwayne hates his family but Richard is proud of him as he has a goal and he is trying to achieve that which takes him to the fourth step in Richard''s program. Anyways, they start their day-long journey. You would''ve guessed that by now, their journey is not at all pleasant. Some very dreadful things happen on the way but does that stop them? Is Richard is able to sell his program? Does Frank get out of his fears? Does the family break? And the last but not the least, does Olive win? These are some of the questions that have answers further in the movie. And believe me, you will be more than satisfied. Little Miss Sunshine is rich in terms of characters and extraordinary performances. Starting with Olive Hoover, she is an 8-year-old who is full of dreams, who is obedient, who unlike all other characters in the film loves everyone in her family and Abigail Breslin gets into Olive''s skin without any extra efforts. She was nominated for an Oscar for her sweet performance. Sheryl Hoover, Olive''s mother, is a caring housewife. She is a divorcee and Richard is her second husband but she loves his children with all her heart. The only problem she has is her husband. She has grown sick of him talking about his nine-step program. And she hates it when her husband talks about his program with others. Also, she is tired of her husband''s unemployment and wants the program sold as quickly as possible and get rid of both the problems at same time. We need an intelligent actor to play the part and Toni Collette does it with excellence beyond praise. Steve Carell was not famous at the time of his selection for the role of Frank, Sheryl''s brother. But when the movie released in 2006, he was a household name and every person in America knew him, thanks to The Office, which started in 2005 and had become a big hit in just one year. He was the most famous actor in the whole cast and that helped the finances of the film very much. Steve plays a character who was a brilliant man and was respected by his colleagues until one day he tried killing himself. Why? Not because he was in love with this guy from his workplace who in turn was in love with another guy. Nor because he was fired from his job. It was because a magazine awarded a medal to the guy who loved the guy whom Frank loved. But, he failed at suicide as well. Frank is a charming, fun-loving and sensible man but he''s got this one problem of being a homosexual and because of that he is a ?loser? in Richard''s eyes but he doesn''t give a damn about what he thinks. Steve is definitely one of the best comic actors ever. And here also, he proves himself. Paul Dano plays Dwayne, Olive''s elder brother. Dwayne is a guy who is limited to himself. He doesn''t care what others are doing and what they think of him. He is really passionate about what he wants to be. He has taken a vow of silence till he becomes a pilot. He hates his family most of all. His father is all praises about that and sees him as the only person in his family who is not a ?loser?. But Dwayne doesn''t give a shit. He is sick of his father. He is sick of his family indeed. Check out the scene when his parents are fighting in the room next to his and he is listening to them and smiling. That really tells us what kind of a person Dwayne is. Playing a silent guy is not an easy task. You have to address the audience through your eyes and your expressions. Paul Dano is perfectly able to do this. He never dissatisfies you. I''ve watched him in There Will Be Blood too. There, he was with one of the best actors, Daniel-Day Lewis. It is said that he had just four days of preparation for his character in There Will Be Blood but watching him in the film was a pleasure. Paul is definitely a talent to look out for. Alan Arkin plays Olive''s grandpa. He is a person who does as he likes and says as he likes, no matter who he is talking to and what they think. His scenes are the funniest. That scene when he is giving some advice to Dwayne about f**king other women is very funny. Apart from his funny side, he is also a caring person. He supports his family in tough times. Alan Arkin won an Oscar for his portrayal. And that was well deserved. The most complex character in the film is Richard. He is very irritating person. He hates losers and wants everyone to be a winner. Though, he is a loser himself. But he doesn''t miss a single opportunity where he can talk about his program and lecture about losers and winners. The only good thing you see about him is that he always boosts his family a lot and that helps them a lot in critical places. Greg Kinnear plays Richard brilliantly and flawlessly. For me, the best performance of the film and I was amazed when I saw that he didn''t even get a nomination for his role. The film mainly revolves around these characters and all other actors have very less screen-time. But they provide good support and don''t let the film dip. Also, if you have watched Breaking Bad, Walter White and Hank show up in one scene each in the film. Again, this is the only comedy film I have seen where there are so many wonderful performances. This movie was also praised worldwide for its extraordinary and unique screenplay and the movie went on winning the Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay. There was this movie named Amelie you might have heard of. It is one of the best French movies ever made. There was this addiction in that film right from the starting that I had never experienced until I watched Little Miss Sunshine. There are movies which get interesting as time progresses and then there are movies which get interesting as the story progresses. But there are very few which grab you mind right from the starting and don''t leave it till the very end. The very best examples are Forrest Gump, Amelie, American Beauty, Her. And in these cases, most of the work is done by the screenplay. Simply speaking, the movie that makes you watch it in one go and that without any disappointment, are written cleverly and very beautifully. Little Miss Sunshine is one such movie. The screenplay of the movie is written by Michael Arndt, who also wrote the screenplay for Brave and Toy Story 3 and he very well deserved his Oscar. The dialogues in the movie are very good and do not possess any kind of randomness and stupidity. They are funny when they are meant to be funny, they are emotional when they are meant to be emotional. In all, Little Miss Sunshine is written very carefully, sensibly and excellently. The movie is directed by the husband-wife pair Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. They did a good job. There was nothing in the film which you can''t see in your real life. Usually, Road movies are easy to direct unless you''re capturing the sceneries instead of emotions. But it takes much to turn the movie into a very good road movie. The directors don''t make any silly mistakes which you often see in comedy movies. But again, this is not your usual LOL comedy movie. There is much more in the film. The music is composed by Michael Danna, who composed the music for Life of Pi, Capote and Moneyball. Here also, he does a splendid job. Though, the music of the movie didn''t get so much acclaim but I love it. And part of the starting theme, called ?The winner is,? is my ringtone. Overall, the music and background score is soothing and most of you will like it. To conclude, I would say that Little Miss Sunshine is a must watch movie. Not just because of the laughs and the fantastic performances, but also because of the sweet message it brings to us. I''m not going to reveal that. It will be better if you experience that yourself. Its story in itself is a great read. This movie teaches us important life lessons and at the same time remains absolutely entertaining. The actors take the film to another level, as I''ve said earlier. Watch it now if you haven''t watched it yet. It is available on Blu-ray. (This review might appear on other websites under same username)
This is a great film. I first saw it when it came out on DVD after seeing adverts for it for a few weeks. Its not your typical laugh out loud comedy. It is quite dark in places, but the film on the whole has a feel good vibe about it. Little miss sunshine was nominated for several awards including four Academy Awards. The film has a great cast including Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Steve Carrell.
Toni Collette plays Sheryl an overworked mother of two children (played brilliantly by Paul Dano and Abigail Breslin). She is faced with the task of looking after her suicidal gay brother Frank (Steve Carrell) after a failed suicide attempt. Greg Kinnear plays her husband who is striving to become a huge success as a motivational speaker and life coach. He has invested everything he has into his product and believes he is a moment away from success.
Paul Dano plays the son Dwayne who has taken a vow of silence until he joins the US Air force, his sister Olive (played by the little girl from Signs in a fat suit) dreams of being a beauty pageant winner. Richards father played brilliantly by Alan Arkin completes the family household. He is a foul mouthed, heroin using world war 2 veteran. He is also the inappropriate coach for Olive.
Olive is a last minute entry into a beauty pageant in California and so the whole family packs up into a yellow VW camper van. And this is where the dysfunctional family begins their journey towards fixing there familial problems. Broken down vehicles, awkward encounters with ex-boyfriends, run in with the law and much more.
I don't want to give too much of the plot away for those who haven't yet seen the film but this is well worth a watch. It's heart warming and funny. There's something for everyone in this film.
This film is a brilliant take on the traditional tale of a dysfunctional family.
There's Richard (Greg Kinnear), the father who is trying and failing to sell his '9 steps' to success. He loves his family but his obsession with winners and losers puts undue pressure on the children.
There's Cheryl (Toni Collette), the mother who takes a somewhat, long suffering wife role becoming the sole income as her husband attempts to find his big break.
There's Dwayne (Paul Dano), the son and classic antisocial teenager taken to the next level as he has pledged a vow of silence until he achieves his goal of becoming a fighter pilot.
There's Olive (Abigail Breslin) the daughter who is desperate to become a beauty queen.
There's Edwin (Alan Arkin), the grandfather who is forced to move in with his son after being kicked out of a retirement home for using heroin.
And finally, there's Frank (Steve Carell), the uncle who moves in with his sister following a failed suicide attempt.
The mismatched family are all forced to spend more time together than they'd like when Olive gains a spot in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant and they drive for several days to reach California where they can compete.
So the scene is set for many an (occasionally far fetched) incident and argument. The jokes throughout the film would not be to everyone's taste. There are few laugh out loud moments as it is more a case of somewhat tongue in cheek or occasionally black humour. What it does provide is something that a lot of families could relate to as while this may be a unique family many of the arguments and stem from similar places as they struggle to maintain their unit.
The acting is strong from all throughout. Steve Carell is as ever infinitely watchable, taking on a less humorous role than we would be used to seeing from him but he does so excellently. The stand out performance for me however comes from Paul Dano who manages to convey every frustration felt by teenagers towards their families without saying single line for the first half of the film. The rest of the cast is also great- there is no weak actor within the family: they all hold their own.
Overall the film is a heart warming testament to the power of family and how, despite many troubles they may face, they continue to come together. A message brilliantly shown by a beautiful ending which brought a tear to my eye.
Note: the film is rated 15 due to strong language and drug use.
'Little Miss Sunshine' is a movie that was on my LoveFilm list, and I didn't really know what to expect when it came through my letterbox. I added it to my list of films to watch mainly because it seemed to be quite popular with LoveFilm users, and for this reason I thought it would probably make quite good viewing. I'm not really fussy with movie genres - a good movie is a good movie.
The movie is about a lot of things, dealing with relationships, family and death to name a few. But the plot through which all of these issues are dealt with centres around a little girl, Olive Hoover, who dreams of winning a beauty pageant - the Little Miss Sunshine contest. Olive's family almost defines what it means to be dysfunctional: her Uncle is homosexual and suicidal, her granddad is a junkie, and her dad, although not doing well at all in his profession, ironically gives lectures on how to be a winner and not a loser for a living. And let's not forget Olive's teenage brother, who has vowed not to utter another word until he gets a job with the Air Force. This movie, as you can see is made up of such strange (and actually very entertaining) characters!
I really enjoyed this film - it's not your typical feel good American comedy. What it is however, is still a comedy, and one which makes use of black humour. This means that it's actually very funny to watch, but not in the sometimes cheesy, obvious way that American movies can be. I also think this type of humour really appeals to British audiences, as much of the humour is underlying. I know a few other reviewers on DooYoo have criticised the film for being depressing and they have failed to see how it could be funny, but I would disagree with those reviewers and say that I found it funny, and I actually enjoy all types of comedy, apart from maybe the very silly and childish type of films.
The acting in this film was excellent. Each character had a good amount of depth to them and I found myself being really interested in the storylines of each. It just emphasised the fact that despite how families look from the outside, and the stereotypical roles that members are often assigned, we are all human when it comes down to it, each often with our own complex set of problems. Therefore in this film, as we see the efforts of the Hoover family to help Olive make it to, and win the pageant, we see just what it means to be part of a family, dysfunctional or not. And along the way, there are a lot of laughs.
Thanks for reading.
If you're looking for a quirky Indie film that focuses on our failings as well as our ability to rally together in a selfless effort, then you need look no further than this comedy film about a little girl whose family try to get her to the beauty pageant she desperately wants to take part in. It's an assembly of a good cast, somewhat out of their comfort zones, and a road trip that has all the ages as opposed to the usual college friends on a mission. Everything about it is normality skewed off centre, and the family's quirkiness is the focal point and provides the entertainment.
The road trip itself and the beauty pageant that the 8 year old daughter in the family wants to go to is really just a basis on which to tell this endearing family story, and it's about the characters and their interaction with each other that's the most important thing. It teaches us to stick up for our family, to love them through their difficulties and differences, and to realise that one person's dream can be another's worst nightmare, and vice versa. We should love one another despite and because of everything we are.
When I say the film teaches us to do this, I don't by any shot mean that this is exactly what they do. Far from it, and you couldn't get a more random and dangerous mix of people travelling in a camper van if you tried, or at least not in the same family, unless you had the Munsters or the Addams along for the ride. Head of the family is self help guru Richard Hoover, more in need of his own self help than he would ever admit. A man so full of pride that he's not prepared to admit he has been taken for a ride by anyone and everyone he has worked with and ultimately has a failing product. Even so, he preaches his methods to his own family in the vain hope that at least they would listen to him.
Despairingly trying to keep the family running and afloat is his wife Sheryl, who seems to be the most normal of the family presented to us. Slightly neurotic and constantly on edge, this seems to be more a product of her nearest and dearest than a characteristic that she has always had. If anyone is sane it's her, and the way Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette interact as Richard and Sheryl is quite impressive. Somewhat out of his usual comfort zone is Steve Carell, who plays Sheryl's suicidal brother Frank. Uncle Frank is with them as he has recently tried to kill himself and needs looking after. One of the funniest things about the film is the pathetic attempts to keep Frank's suicidal nature a secret from the kids, and Richard and Frank have a number of subtle standoffs against each other, each trying to better the other in conversation. Needless to say, no one wins and they both coming out looking like jerks. Carell is actually quite good playing a role that has more straight talking and less comedy associated with it, although his performance among everything else in general is probably the most tongue in cheek humour of the lot.
Abigail Breslin, child star of the moment, plays Olive, the little girl dreaming of getting to the beauty pageant. She takes everything in her stride and is an adorable little actress. The innocence is here in abundance, and you just warm to her straight away, while everyone else in her family is an absolute nightmare. Her interaction with the adults as such a young actress is very impressive, and I liked the way directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris ensured that she was smothered by other characters and given such an eclectic bunch to work with. Some great actors who would have known just how to coax her through. One of these is Paul Dano, who plays the older brother who has taken a vow of silence. This becomes yet another ridiculous element of the film, with his refusal to speak fuelling many of the small arguments and making them even bigger. It's also the source of a lot of amusement as you can imagine.
Last of the family is the drug addicted Grandpa Edwin, who has the best connection with Olive out of all of them. Alan Arkin plays the character perfectly, and this is the most memorable performance of the entire film, bar none. If the others do well in this quirky portrayal of a family on a mission to support their youngest member, then he excels and pulls them all through. Screen presence is excellent, and the calm he exudes is no doubt as much his own personality as well as that of his character, who is full of quirkiness himself. If he weren't he just wouldn't fit in this family. Excellent performance.
The film's script allows their collective eccentricities to come out in force. I was impressed with the constant barrage of events that take place to try and scupper their efforts to get Olive across the country to the beauty pageant in a race against time, with a camper van that doesn't want to play ball, family members who keep delaying things, and even a tragedy happening halfway through - and only this family could let a tragedy turn into disaster by doing something outrageous and panic-fuelled. It's one of those film you need to let grip you from the start, and if you do then you'll thoroughly enjoy it. Keep an open mind and enjoy the character performances rather than focus on the plot, as this is what makes it entertaining and enjoyable. The plot itself is merely a vehicle for a small chapter in these characters' to be told, and it does what it needs to for this to work. I thought it was really good, and although the comedy isn't the laugh out loud sitcom style you may expect, it's still a very cleverly presented comedy, with some great acting and consistent directing. One to watch.
When daughter Olive gets invited to take part in a beauty contest it comes down to the family to decide if they are going to take a road trip to get her to California. This is not a normal family though, Mother Sheryl is very open and truthfully to the family and this at times is a little harsh, father Richard is a self help guy trying to sell his 9 step programme without success, son Dwayne has taken a vow of silence, the Grandfather is a rude pig who uses heroine and has had to move in with the family as he got kicked out of his nursing home and they now have Sheryl's brother staying with them as he tried to kill himself over his lover.
The family is very dysfunctional but they all agree to take the road trip in their campervan to get Olive to the pageant. The trip does not start well though as the clutch goes and they have to wait a week for the part to arrive or deal with the fact they will have to push the camper every time it stops to a good speed so it can be put straight into third gear. This poses a few problems as the family are all different ages and not able to keep up with a fast moving van. As the trip continues the family starts to fall apart by arguments and too many truths being told. Can the family keep it together and get Olive to the pageant and will the van make the 700 miles?
I have to say I did find it quite hard to give a brief plot summery for this film as it is actually quite basic and only involves a road trip, there is slightly more to the story though as a lot of things happen along the way but I felt giving to much away would spoil the film for those who may not have watched it yet. I did find the story quite good but there was a distinct lack of comedy. I only chose this film as it claims to be outrageously funny but both me and hubby felt it was very disappointing. There was a lot of potential to be had and many chances to the actors to make us laugh but the potential was never reached and there was only about 4 times when both me and hubby had a small giggle.
The acting was ok but I just could not help thinking that the actors were all holding back and not quite giving their all to the roles. We had some good actors including Steve Carell, Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette but for me they were pretty weak. I did find some of the characters to be a little strange as well. Richard was always preaching his 9 step programme and this was very annoying and he did actually annoy his family with it and the Mother was too open with her children and I felt she needed to shut her mouth and know what should and should not be said to her 7 year old daughter. The role which Steve Carell took on was that of the depressed brother and I just could not warm to him. He was quiet and very withdrawn from the film, I know this was partly due to the fact his character had tried to kill himself but I just felt from a great comic actor he could have developed more and given a lot more to the film. The real star of the film for me was Grandfather, he was the one who gave me the few giggles, I loved how obnoxious he was at times and how he did not care what he said. I think I warmed to him more than the other characters as he did show another caring side and was not flat like the others.
The film was set on the road with the character travelling in the campervan and as result we did get some lovely scenery. I found the shots of the deserts and countryside were what made me enjoy this film slightly more. The views were at times quite stunning. I did enjoy the setting and although this is another road trip film it did have a difference to it. There is a good portion of the film set inside the van and I found that maybe if we had a few different settings then it would have been less dull to watch. The special effects which we got in a few of the scenes were good and in keeping with the feel of the film. There were no massive effects needed as there was no action in the film. The costumes were all good and modern and no real effort was needed with them.
I found that the music was a little odd at times, it seemed to have a French feel and it did not seem to fit at all with the parts that it was used in. I think with the openness of the film and the stunning views we had then a good strong soundtrack was definitely needed.
I am only reviewing the film so there are no bonus features to speak about. The DVD can be bought for £3 in Tesco and is also available online. The running time of the film is 98 minutes and I felt this was quite long enough. The rate is a 15 and I definitely agree with this, we see some drug use in the film and there is a lot of bad language so it is not a film for the younger audience.
I had high hopes for this film as it was supposed to be very funny and had some good actors in but unfortunately both me and hubby were left very disappointed. The actors only seemed half interested in what they were doing and there was a distinct lack of comedy. I would not recommend going out and buying the DVD and I would advise caution even if this film does come on the TV so you get to watch for free. Sadly only a 2 star film for me.
Film only review
I watched this film on TV, I think. I read the plot summary and I wasn't interested in the film but when I saw the good rating and that Toni Collette stars in the movie I thought I should give it a go.
The story starts with Collette's characters brother (Steve Carell) trying to commit suicide and a result he stays with her family for a while so that they can keep an eye on him. This is when I thought I wasn't going to like the film as suicide isn't really uplifting and I wasn't in the mood for a deep story. But I decided to go along with it when I saw how dysfunctional the family was.
There is the father (Greg Kinnear) a failed motivational speaker, the mother (Toni Collete), the suicidal and depressed brother, an elderly heroin addict (Alan Arkin), a teen who is mute by choice (Paul Dano) and a beauty pageant hopeful (Abigail Breslin). The family get into a VW mini van for a road trip from Albuquerque to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California after Olive gets to the final of the pageant. Along the way they find a way to reconnect , trust and support one another. The family is truly dysfunctional and erratic which adds humour and real life to the story.
The film could easily failed and been terrible because the story is not very original. The actors really excelled themselves here because the acting was superb and without them this would have been a crappy road trip movie. But it wasn't, it was funny throughout. There was drama along the way with the characters facing up to their troubles and moving forward. There is also a sad moment which then turns out to be quite funny (I can't say what because it would be a spoiler).
This isn't really a film for the family because young children are unlikely to understand or be interested in the plot. It was an uplifting film even though there are some depressing issues in the film. I felt that I could relate to the people in the film so that may be why I enjoyed it.
This agreeable low-key comedy is an independently-produced movie about a seven-year-old little girl's quest to be a winner, especially in children's beauty contests and similar events. She manages to win a local contest and gets the right to enter a children's pageant in California and so the family, somewhat reluctantly, sets off in a cranky old VW microbus across the country.
Although it has its moments, this is not the normal Hollywood-style setup, punch line, setup, punchline, setup... kind of movie. I described it as 'low-key' because it is a far gentler kind of humour, even though a bit risque at times. I didn't find it offensive, but maybe a small minority might. Much of the movie goes on without any jokes as such. Indeed the first 20 minutes of the film are somewhat serious, as the characters are gradually introduced to us, including uncle Frank who has just managed to survive a suicide attempt after a colleage beat him to top place in the Proust scholar stakes, and substance-snorting foul-mouthed grandpa who also happens to be coaching the little girl Olive in her dance routine for the show. Olive's father is trying to promote his 9 step program for winners, not too successfully. Mother is trying to support her daughter and run the household. Perhaps she isn't so obsessed with winning. Older brother Dwayne is though. He wants to be a pilot and has taken a vow of silence until he can achieve his goal.
The characters really make this film. We have quite a motley crew of flawed human beings and they get along with each other badly, as any semi-functional family of obsessives might. As a result a lot of the humour is based on their interactions, and this is really well acted, particularly by the less well-known actors.
In many humorous films, the actors act in a jokey way, unable to avoid signalling that they are in a humourous mode, but not here. Instead, the acting is very naturalistic, with the characters taking themselves very seriously, making the whole thing far more believable. Olive, played by Abigail Breslin, does a particularly good job, as does Toni Collette as her mother. However, all the family were great.
So what's it all about? Winning and losing seems to be the theme. Father thinks that winning is everything, yet he is a loser himself (perhaps this is why he's obsessed with winning). Uncle Frank the Proust scholar can't stand being second place in the academic rankings. Older brother Dwayne has to become a pilot. Olive has to win the pageant. In the end, coarse-mouthed Grandpa probably has the most balanced view of things: the only losers are those who don't even try.
It seems little Olive understands this idea too, ultimately. Her entry in the children's pageant causes quite a stir but she is not in the end concerned with whether she won or not.
I would give this movie a good 7 out of 10 overall. It is a fine, warm-hearted family comedy. Sensitive parents may want to preview it before allowing children to watch it, but it has a good message in the end.
This review can also be found in my blog, http://www.alphatucana.co.uk/blog/alphatucana.php
Little Olive Hoover lives in an ordinary clinical family. Her mother Sheryl is a neurotic who can't stop smoking. Her father Richard is a typical loser developing a self-help program. Her uncle Frank is recovering after an unsuccessful suicide attempt (double loser!) after he lost his boyfriend and his title as number one specialist in Proust to his competitor. Her elder brother Dwayne, a follower of Nietzsche, has taken a vow of silence as the first step towards becoming a jet pilot. Did I forget anyone? Oh, yes, Olive's grandpa snorts heroine. One day all this circus crams into a cheerful yellow Volkswagen bus to go to California where Olive is going to take part in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant...
It took the filmmakers five years to make Little Miss Sunshine due to the difficulty in financing the project. It came out really well made, especially for its small budget (estimated at $8,000,000). It is nice to see that the film went far beyond the comedy stereotypes and its plot was not just a conventional setting for the funny situations (which hardly occurred before the family hit the road). In terms of humour, the biggest treat is in the end. Interestingly, the funniest situations in Little Miss Sunshine were connected with grandpa who turned out to be a very special kind of character.
Speaking about the essence of the film, I think the central obvious idea is what it means to be a family. In the beginning, the Hoovers couldn't stand each other and the situation was perfectly described by Dwayne's "Welcome to hell" written in his notepad as a welcome to Frank. Confined into the small space of the bus, the Hoovers could either kill each other or realise they are a family. In my opinion, this realisation happened at the hospital, again, thanks to grandpa.
The family's inability to see and listen to each other is largely responsible for the end of the film. Knowing their daughter was going to participate in a pageant, the Hoovers could have dedicated some time to her preparation. Instead, nobody even thought of it. Except the cheeky devil grandpa.
Another idea which seemed to be in the air all the time is the division of people into winners and losers. According to Richard Hoover, if you are not a winner, you are a loser. This kind of logic drove Frank to a suicide attempt. It also seems to lie beneath Dwayne's extreme methods of training himself. And I think the same attitude makes mothers take their daughters to beauty pageants year after year until they win or... I don't know what.
The beauty pageant was featured in the film for a very limited time, but was disclosed pretty well (the little participants and their mothers were real). Even though the directors did not say it in their comment, it was quite obvious to me that Olive's performance summarised the whole idea of beauty pageants and that's why the audience felt offended. In this context, I don't think it's a coincidence that most people take the biker dad for a child molester.
To sum it up, Little Miss Sunshine is a very well-made film with realistic characters and a lot of detail to pay attention to. Why only four stars out of five then? Umm... Paradoxically, for the same reason. It is well-made and good, but not extraordinary.
NB: This review is mirrored in my blog at www.artymind.com
Well, it seems that on this site, 'Little Miss Sunshine' has been given mostly positive reviews. Unfortunately I didn't think it was quite worth the 5 stars that it has been given.
This was probably because of my high expectations for the movie, after the funny looking trailers I have seen. When I first saw it released I felt 'I really want to watch that film' and finally 4 years later I actually have watched it.
I expected it to be laugh out loud funny, or at least a little bit funny, I hadn't realised that Steve Carell was in it, and so was looking forward to it even more. Unfortunately it wasn't funny in the way that I thought it would be - but actually the whole thing was so sweet that I was laughing anyway. The scene where Olive is on stage doing the 'Talent' section of the contest, and her family join in is priceless.
The film is based on a very dysfunctional family, that struggle to get along as a 'picture perfect' family would - although who's family is that perfect? This film follows the family as they go through their own problems on a car journey to take Olive to the Little miss sunshine Beauty Pageant. In the end most of the problems are solved or forgotten because of the help of various family members.
Overall I would say this is a good movie to watch, if you have nothing else to watch. It's not the best film, I got a bit bored half way through and stopped watching it for a while, but I'm glad I went back as the last half is the more entertaining and funnier part. It's definitely one of the sweetest and nicest film I've ever seen - Abigail Breslin is brilliant as the innocent Olive and the other characters are all unique and quirky.
Little Miss Sunshine follows the dysfunctional Hoover family on a family road trip to fulfill the dreams of daughter Olive who has qualified for the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. There is plenty of drama en-route, including death, bumping into ex-lovers and dealing with a teenager who refuses to talk until he reaches his goal of becoming a test pilot. When they reach the pageant it becomes clear that cute but chubby Olive doesn't fit into the pageant world of hairspray and fake tan and the family unite to try and stop her from being humiliated. The film has won critical acclaim and is one of my personal favourites. It is subtle and the finale is as hilarious as it is heartwarming.
Olive (Abigail Breslin) - Breslin is perfectly cast here as a lovable, smart girl with an obsession with beauty pageants.
Richard (Greg Kinnear) - a great performance from Kinnear as an insufferable but loving father trying to make it as a motivational speaker.
Sheryl (Toni Collette) - Collette plays eternally stressed Sheryl with ease and you are waiting for her to snap throughout the whole film!
Edwin (Alan Arkin) - Arkin won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for this film and it is easy to see why. As a heroin snorting grandfather you shouldn't like him but his bond with Olive is really lovely especially as she seems to be misunderstood by her parents.
Frank (Steve Carrell) - It's nice to see Carrell in a film other than the Will Ferrell ones as he brings his perfect comedy timing to a more serious role as a rejected lover recovering from a recent suicide attempt.
Dwayne (Paul Dano) - Dwayne doesn't play a massive part in the film but is in one of the most memorable moments, when he finds out that he is colour blind and therefore can't become a pilot. This leads to a very touching moment between him and sister Olive.
Comedies that involve dysfunctional familes are sometimes hard to pull off and succeed but Little Miss Sunshine does it pretty well. It is not over the top but is just right and has the right mix of humour and drama.
Olive played by Abigail Breslin is a fantastic, regular little girl. She is fairly serious and also very sincere most of the time. She does have one big wish in life and that's to be a child beauty queen. Will her dreams actually come true?
The big problem she faces is not so much whether she can acheive her dreams but the major stumbling block in her way is her family. Her mum played by Toni Collette has just collected her Uncle Frank played by Steve Carrell from the hospital after his failed suicide attempt! Then there is her Dad played by Greg Kinnear who is totally obsessed with his get rich quick scheme that will probably never work. He spends much of his time trying to tell others how to succeed. If these three weren't enough to deal with then add into the mix her brother Dwayne played by Paul Dano who is strange teenager who is typical in the sense that he is acting bizarrely and has taken a vow of silence and lastly her Grandpa played by Alan Arkin who has a bad attitude and has developed many bad habits over the years. He's too old in the tooth to change now though!
So you can see she has problems enough with her strange family, and together they set off on a road trip to California in their old camper van so that Olive is able to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant and try to acheive her goals. However, as you can guess the road trip doesn't quite go according to plan and turns into the trip from hell!
The script for this movie is brilliantly written and the cast really make the movie too. They all play their parts fantastically well and create a real atmosphere of chaos in their family that is believable. Steve Carrell certainly wouldn't have struck me as a character of a suicidal, depressed man but he manages to pull if off.
I really recommend this movie to anyone who hasn't seen it as it's fun and original and I'm sure you will love the strange mix of characters as they carry out their lives.
This film is set around a family from Albuquerque, the Hoovers. This family is very dysfunction. I thought that my family were weird but after this film it makes them look almost normal!
Sheryl (Toni Collete) and Richard Hoover (Greg Kinnear) are the parents. Sheyrl is the one that goes out to work to support the family whilst Richard is obsessed with making it big, he has developed a 9 step self help plan and thinks that this will make him famous.
The two children are Olive (Abigail Breslin) and Dwane ( Paul Dano), Dwane is a child from a previous relationship of Sheryl's. Olive is obsessed with Beauty pageants and dreams of being a beauty pageant queen. Dwane wants to be a fighter pilot and has given up talking until he becomes one, he always carries round a pad of paper with him so that he can communicate with people and always has the same mopey expression on his face like a normal teenage boy.
We are also joined by Richards father Edwin (Alan Arkin) and Sheryl's brother Frank (Steve Carell) Edwin is living with them because he has been kicked out of his retirement home for taking drugs, he is still taking them and trying to live the last few years of his life to the max.. Frank is a new addition to the house, he has just tried to commit suicide and Sheryl has brought him into the family home to help him. We are told that he did it because of a male lover than didn't love him back, but loved his competitor and also losing his job.
When Olive gets the chance to compete in the Little miss sunshine pageant it is decided that the whole family are going to travel to California in the VW. There are a lot of unexpected twists and turns along the way and there is a lot of humour!
I love the way that Olives talent is not shown until the pageant, I absolutely love that scene it had me in hysterics, not even the family is let into this secret as the grandfather always tells the family that she isn't ready and needs more rehearsals.
I also like the way that each family member has a chance to develop in this film, its clear that this film is mainly about olive but there is enough input from the characters so that its not based around just one person.
The relationships between the characters were amazing in this film, I really liked the relationship between Dwane and his uncle Frank, from the first night where he writes down please don't kill yourself tonight to his uncle and to during the pageant where they have a completely in depth conversation.
The film Little Miss Sunshine follows the story of the Hoover family as they try to enter their daughter into the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant and the troubles that they encounter on the long journey that they take on the way to the pageant. The story begins when Frank the wife brother has to come to stay after trying to commit suicide. There is initially a lot of awkwardness between him and the family but throughout the film they learn to accept him as a member of the family. Olive the daughter of the family receives a phone call saying she has made it into the beauty pageant and preparations must be made. The whole family including her brother and her grandfather prepare for the journey. The film now moves onto the journey in the family's VW bus and what happens on the journey. Throughout the journey Olive's training for the contest is taken care of by her grandfather. Upon arriving at the beauty pageant a performance is put on by Olive that shocks everyone in the audience including her own family.
Having been watching this film with an open mind I was rather unsure what to expect when watching it but thought due to previous good reviews I thought I may as well give it a go. I was however somewhat bewildered by the whole experience. I found the story idea to be somewhat intriguing but the way that they family were portrayed and they conducted themselves was beyond my comprehension I I'm not saying that the film was rubbish but for me I found very little amusement from it. Especially the role that the brother played were he maintained a vow of silence for the duration of the film I found this very hard to believe that he had not spoken a single word. Also when he discovers that he is colour blind at around the age of 16 I thought this was ridiculous I mean I was be almost certain that someone else would have picked up on it just by when someone asked him to pass them a colour pencil and he kept passing the wrong one I would have thought that this would have given it away to most people. I also thought upon receiving the dvd that it appeared to be somewhat of a children's film but I would not advise that children viewing as some may find certain scenes upsetting.
There were however a few redeeming features to this film, the main one being the grandfather I found him rather amusing although his character was that of a sad old man. The message that I took away from him was that although he didn't have long left he was going to stick it to the world one last time. I thought this was a good message showing that you don't always have to conform to society.
note: also appears in part on Flixster and The Student Room
Independent films may never reach a large audience, and while this is often justified because they're snooty and elitist, Little Miss Sunshine is one film that demands attention; it is witty, funny, and very earnest. It manages sentiment yet is also deeply honest and so seems very genuine and not at all manipulative in its deep examination of love, family, life, and death.
The film revolves around a quirky family, headed by Sheryl Hoover (Toni Collette), who lives with her suicidal brother Frank (Steve Carell), her stressed husband Richard (Greg Kinnear), her son from another marriage, Dwayne (Paul Dano), her drug addicted father in law Edwin (Alan Arkin), and her daughter with Richard, Olive (Abigail Breslin). The film mainly revolves around Olive wanting to enter a beauty pageant, and while not being conventionally attractive, the family nevertheless embark on a road trip to enter her.
What's most admirable about this film is how daring it is: it doesn't take the well-trodden path of being slightly quirky but ultimately safe. This is a film that confronts serious issues such as suicide and drug addiction, while also mixing this with some clever humour, making for a rather witty film unlike anything else I've seen. It has great performances, too, and Alan Arkin won an Oscar for his performance as the Heroin-addicted grandpa. As a champion of independent cinema, this is one of the best examples that springs to mind.
I'm not too fond of quirky film usually because they often seem so pompous and self-consciously strange (such as Juno), but this film has a warmth and underlying seriousness to it that elevates it above films of similar ilk. Witty, intelligent, and charming, this is a highly enjoyable film.
A family determined to get their young daughter into the finals of a beauty pageant take a cross-country trip in their VW bus. Hilarity ensues.