Little Miss Sunshine (2006)


Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB.5.  

USA, 2006.  , , , .  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , , , , .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

There’s nothing but surprises to be enjoyed from this wonderful comedy. Young  is thrilled when she finds out that an opening in a children’s beauty pageant has come up and allowed her charmingly dorky, big-spectacled, hair-banded self to enter. The entire family, beset by the arrival of their suicidal university professor uncle (a brilliant ) and their dad’s () impending unemployment, decide that the best thing to keep this unit alive is to pack everyone into their very run-down Volkswagon bus and head to California for the pageant. Breslin and trash-mouthed grandfather  practice her routine in secret while exasperated mom  has to deal with her brother’s and husband’s antics as well as the fact that her depressed teenaged son () refuses to speak.  Somehow this mess of highly original characters doesn’t feel like an overdrawn acting exercise. The brilliant script and incredibly smooth direction by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris make for a journey that is nothing but laughs and a few poignantly perfect tender moments as well, and the performances are all outstanding.

Academy Awards:  Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin); Best Original Screenplay
Nominations: Best Picture; Best Supporting Actress (Abigail Breslin)

Golden Globe Award Nominations:  Best Picture-Musical/Comedy; Best Actress-Musical/Comedy (Toni Collette)

Screen Actors Guild Award:  Outstanding Motion Picture Cast
Nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin); Best Supporting Actress (Abigail Breslin)

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