Sunshine Cleaning (2009)

This mordant family drama has an intriguing premise, sisters who start a business cleaning up after messy crime scenes, but the film suffers from a crippling passivity. It’s nicely acted all around, especially Emily Blunt as the more troubled, wild child sister. The dysfunctional characters are established with momentary glimpses to back-stories, mostly tragic, but the narrative just sort of nudges them along. Sunshine Cleaning is a little too removed and clinical for its own good. The working-class characters are rundown but that doesn’t mean the movie has to feel the same way. Subplots and characters will be abandoned or left with no resolution. Alan Arkin’s scheming grandfather character never seems related to the plot, and he feels like he was lifted from another movie with a wackier veneer. It also makes time for cute sentimental elements that don’t jibe with the film’s tone, like using a CB radio to talk to loved ones in heaven. Sunshine Cleaning is sweet and sincere drama with some dark humor mixed in and it comes across as affable entertainment. Still, this movie had much more promise, if only it was less reserved and afraid to get its hands dirty.

Nate’s Grade: B-


About natezoebl

One man. Many movies. I am a cinephile (which spell-check suggests should really be "epinephine"). I was told that a passion for movies was in his blood since I was conceived at a movie convention. While scientifically questionable, I do remember a childhood where I would wake up Saturday mornings, bounce on my parents' bed, and watch Siskel and Ebert's syndicated TV show. That doesn't seem normal. At age 17, I began writing movie reviews and have been unable to stop ever since. I was the co-founder and chief editor at (2007-2014) and now write freelance. I have over 1400 written film reviews to my name and counting. I am also a proud member of the Central Ohio Film Critics Association (COFCA) since 2012. In my (dwindling) free time, I like to write uncontrollably. I wrote a theatrical genre mash-up adaptation titled "Our Town... Attacked by Zombies" that was staged at my alma mater, Capital University in the fall of 2010 with minimal causalities and zero lawsuits. I have also written or co-written sixteen screenplays and pilots, with one of those scripts reviewed on industry blog Script Shadow. Thanks to the positive exposure, I am now also dipping my toes into the very industry I've been obsessed over since I was yea-high to whatever people are yea-high to in comparisons.

Posted on September 17, 2009, in 2009 Movies and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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