Sunshine Cleaning
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A single mom and her slacker sister find an unexpected way to turn their lives around in the off-beat dramatic comedy. In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school the mom starts an unusual business, a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service.

January 18, 2008

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Sunshine Cleaning

Reviewed by mutuel

At The Movies

Sunshine Cleaning (14A) * * *

Sister Act


Times are tough. Challenges are being faced by everyone during an economic downturn. Bright spots are few and far between. Against this backdrop that entrepreneurial spirit somehow lives on. Through Sunshine Cleaning, a savvy small release from Seville Pictures and E1 Entertainment/AMPR we get to champion the little guy. Check out this fun independent flick at Vancouver’s Park Theatre.

Good writing and natural performances can make audiences stand up and notice. Critics too have fallen under the spell of this quirky flick that has proven popular at various film festivals around the globe. Perhaps ordinary folks can relate to the plight of Rose Lurkowski. Middle age has kind of crept up on this Albuquerque New Mexico resident. Living with a loving young son Rose survives by doing home cleaning.

Sooner or later we all need to branch out. Thanks to a friend Rose gets involved in some more risky cleaning ventures which sees her fortunes change. Out to help her out is sister Norah, a live wire who’s a bit slow on the uptake and also has a host of habits that rub some people the wrong way. Pile on Joe, a crusty dad whose also suffering under the strain of an economy gone sour and you have a bunch of down on their luck sad people.

Chances to progress up the economic ladder, or just survive, are deftly handled here by director Christine Jeffs (Sylvia) who fleshes out a neat family dynamic enhanced by some good supporting friends. Among these acquaintances are a part time lover and a series of former gal pals that impact Rose’s life in a rather unpredictable way.

Oscar nominated Amy Adams (Doubt) breathes life into the much maligned Rose, who seems to be born with a smile but has loads of trouble getting her life on track. Even worse off is the plight of sister Norah who with a wild streak is nicely put forth by Emily Blunt (The Devil Wears Prada). On the male side we have Steve Zahn (Sahara) giving up his goofy persona to play a straight guy and veteran great Alan Arkin (Get Smart) appealing to the cantankerous geriatric crowd.

Focus on the family and struggle makes Sunshine Cleaning a pretty good take on a modern family in survival mode. Pitch perfect performances make this 102 minute film engaging from start to finish. Let’s say for the times we’re confronting this film hits home.

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