Rating: 4/4 (Heartwarming and funny peek into a family that implodes.)
The movies I find most endearing are simple and heartwarming. And Little Miss Sunshine fits the bill perfectly! The sunflower in this movie is the oh-so-cute kid Olive, who wants nothing more than to win the Little Miss Sunshine, a kids' beauty pageant. Innocent, pampered and chubby, she has the vaguest idea of how impossible her dream is. But, her dream forces her family to undertake a weekend road trip from Albuquerque to California in a Volkswagen Minibus for the contest. Her dad is a no-name motivational speaker, with a 9-step plan to Success, who is on the verge of a book deal. Her brother is on a vow of silence, communicating by using a writing pad, determined to join the Air Force. Her uncle is a Proust scholar who is recuperating from a suicide due to career and love failures. Her grandfather is living with them after being kicked out of his old age home for being a junkie. And finally her mom is super stressed by having to deal with this zoo of a family. Over the weekend, not only does their minibus break down, but their lives do too, leaving Olive's impossible attempt at her beauty contest as their only hope.
Little Miss Sunshine feels like a spot of sunshine in the morass of Hollywood. The plot is simple and very funny and does not miss the little details of middle class family life. The characters are endearing and the acting (yes, Stevel Carell) is excellent. Especially cute with her innocence is Abigail Breslin as Olive. The cinematography is gorgeous, with a lot of light, great angles, compositions and wide angle shots. Little Miss Sunshine is heartwarming and funny and hard to go wrong with anytime or with anyone.