Aug 312009

Sunshine Cleaning PosterOnce the high school cheerleading captain who dated the quarterback, Rose Lorkowski now finds herself a thirty something single mother working as a maid. Her sister Norah is still living at home with their dad Joe, a salesman with a lifelong history of ill-fated get rich quick schemes. Desperate to get her son into a better school, Rose persuades Norah to go into the crime scene clean-up business with her to make some quick cash. In no time, the girls are up to their elbows in murders, suicides and other…specialized situations. As they climb the ranks in a very dirty job, the sisters find a true respect for one another and the closeness they have always craved finally blossoms. By building their own improbable business, Rose and Norah open the door to the joys and challenges of being there for one another — no matter what — while creating a brighter future for the entire Lorkowski family.

Genres: Comedy and Drama; Running Time: 1 hr. 32 min.; Release Date: March 13th, 2009; MPAA Rating: R for language, disturbing images, some sexuality and drug use.

Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steve Zahn, Clifton Collins Jr.

Directed by: Christine Jeffs

I had wanted to see this movie while it was in theaters, but we just never made it. So we watched it Saturday night now that it is out on DVD. It was a very good movie.

This is one of those little films with heart. Amy Adams (most recently seen in the superb ‘Doubt’),and Emily Blunt (currently seen in ‘The Great Buck Howard’)are sisters who form a business,cleaning up crime scenes. Their characters differ some what. One is a single Mother of a challenging 8 year old,having an affair with now-married ex-high school boyfriend. The other is a rootless,drifting from one crappy job to another,slacker. Veteran actor,Alan Arkin is their father,who is involved in one failed “get rich quick” scheme after another. This is quality,quirky film making at it’s best. Fraternal bonds seem to be the central theme here. This film was produced last year,but seems to be getting a late (but most welcome)distribution just now.

It is about emotional survival in rough times. Rose needs to raise tuition to get her son out of a public school. In a pinch, she starts cleaning crime scenes and out of that grows a business of which she is pretty proud.

The emotional pathos of cleaning up the bloody mess gives them release of emotions pent up by the tragic death of their Mother and also a sense of purpose and contribution.

From all this Rose gains the strength to tell her married boyfriend that she “doesn’t want it anymore.” Amy Adams’ face, when she blurts this out, is such a mess her eyes aren’t even focused, and it comes through. Both as a character and as an actor she is not merely mouthing lines. Her sister Nora is unprofessional enough to deliberately get involved with a crime victim’s kin, with predictably bad results. She is also devoted to the sport of “trestling”–hanging from underneath passing trains on railroad trestles.

The trailer would lead one to believe it’s a comedy, and there is humor. It’s subtle and often just under the sufrace. It is always there. It is there in a sense of irony and wry observation of life. The point is: see it. You will not be disappointed. Lay and I both agreed it is probably the best film we’ve seen recently.

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