topfivefilms.com Wednesday 26th January 2022
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Little Miss Sunshine (15)
Directed by: Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz
No one was really fooled by Steve's "door impression"
No one was really fooled by Steve's "door impression"

It took around five years to get this film made, mostly because of financial issues. At least, that's what it says here. Well, I don't know who had the patience to ensure the film got funded, or who eventually paid for it, but one thing is for sure: it was worthwhile. Little Miss Sunshine is a novel film that is at times amusing, always absorbing and well worth seeing.

The film follows a family that can be easily dismissed as dysfunctional. A little daughter who dreams of being a beauty queen, a teenage son who wants to be a fighter pilot and has taken a vow of silence until he achieves his goal, a father who is a (failed) motivational speaker (Greg Kinnear) and a grandfather who is an outrageous pervert (but quite charming with it). The most normal of the bunch is the mother (Toni Collette), who is typically fraught and tired as she tries to keep the group together. Oh, and I forgot the gay uncle who just tried to commit suicide (a serious and credible turn for Steve Carell).

So, as you may have guessed, it's a film with more than a few comedic moments in it, largely driven by the cast of odd characters, but also by the unusual situations they find themselves in. Shortly after the film begins, the family find out their daughter is a finalist for the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant (contestants must be six or seven years old to enter) in California. Their only choice is to hop into their old VW Camper van and "road trip" it down to The Golden State.

While this is a very dry and dark comedy, the incredibly rich characters, the clever script and the superb performances from all the cast members combine to make this a brilliant character piece that is worth watching despite the limited number of laughs it provides. By the end of the film I was both grinning and slightly teary-eyed at the same time, such was my emotional investment at that point, although it was possibly just because I was overtired and hungry. In any event, Little Miss Sunshine is one of the most engaging films I've seen for a while and deserves the success it has had for such a small and independent film.

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Length: 101 minutes
Certificate: 15
Official Site: http://www2.foxsearchlight.com/littlemisssunshine/
IMDB Link: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0449059/
Release Date: 8th September 2006

Top Five Rating: 80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0%80.0% (80.0%)
User Rating: 85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0%85.0% (85.0%)

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