First of all, more Emily Blunt please. Now. I realized that she’s in quite a few movies that I’ve seen but she’s somehow completely unmemorable since The Devil Wears Prada. Until now. I already knew Amy Adams, Clifton Collins jr and Alan Arkin are all awesome. I had no idea how great Emily Blunt is. She needs her own film to carry on her shoulders. A good one. Soon.
You’ve probably seen the trailer. If not, I stuck it under the seats; but it is completely misleading. The marketing department hoped to push this movie as a care-free, uplifting comedy that is just edgy enough for the seventy-something crowd to come away from it thinking it was dark humorous fun. This is what I had planned on. And I suppose to some extent, it’s true. But it’s so much more… for the better.
The film really has very little to do with crime scene cleanup. The story is actually a little bit fragmented and tries to deal with many different characters all going through their own unique, personal struggles. Whether it be single parenting, extra-marital affairs, loss of a loved one (mothers, sisters, wives), business struggles, school problems, chemical abuse, insecurities with peers and even physical disabilities. Some of these things are delved into deeper than others, but all of them are tackled in one form or another. And for a film to get into all of this, and do it coherently and structurally sound, is quite a task in and of itself.
What’s in the trailer isn’t lies. There are some fun moments and cute, chuckle worthy moments, but in actuality the film is a lot more serious than the marketing lets on. And yes, some of it might feel a little heavy handed and manipulative, but that’s okay. I like to be man handled if it’s done correctly and with grace. There is an ongoing “bit” about how the two sisters are searching for a way to reconnect with a deceased loved one. It could’ve been over the top corniness, but it is constructed slowly and the payoff works like gangbusters. Yes, there maybe was a lump in the throat. Like I said, I’m sucker for that sort of thing – true friendship and/or love in the face of extreme hardship in a movie gets me everytime (if it’s done well).
Sunshine Cleaning really surprised me and I encourage all to give it a chance. It won’t make any year end top ten lists or any Oscars, but it’s another example of a potentially great female director in the works. This is the film I could’ve seen Adrienne Shelly putting together if she were still with us. Heavy but not heavy handed, though admittedly not the greatest bits of humor ever to grace the screen, but quite an enjoyable film that despite the outrageous scenario, somehow really rings true and hits many many notes on cue and in key.
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