Movie Critic – COM TECH – “Little Miss Sunshine”
June 13, 2011, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Culminating Com Tech.

TITLE:  “Little Miss Sunshine” will leave you beaming!

By Briana Hwang

Everyone’s family is weird one way or another. Perhaps they leave you exhausted and annoyed, or drive you right up the wall. All families come with quirks and flaws but in the end they will always be there to help you get through the toughest of situations. This is what the oddly heart-warming “Little Miss Sunshine” portrays through its dark humour.

Taken in modern time in sunny Arizona, Sheryl Hoover (Toni Collette) is an over-worked, over-tired mother taking care of her children and her out of work husband Richard Hoover (Greg Kinnear) as well as her drug addicted father-in-law Edwin (Alan Arkin), who knows how to crawl under everyone’s skin. Her teenage son, Dwayne (Paul Dano) is coming of age and refuses to speak until his dreams of joining the air academy come true. Her daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin), the “Little Miss Sunshine” herself, is a free spirited child who dreams of winning the beauty pageant. As if having an arrogant, agitated husband, a criticizing father-in-law, rebelling son and 7 year old daughter wasn’t stressful enough, her gay suicidal brother now lives with her as she and the rest of her family make sure he doesn’t try to off himself again.  When Olive is given the chance to participate in the “Little Miss Sunshine” pageant, the whole family packs up into their broken 70’s model Volkswagen van and head to California in order to pursue young Olive’s dreams.

Young Olive is impressively played by Abigail Breslin who is able to capture the weirdness and innocence of her character. You may have seen her in Zombie land, Signs, and my sisters’ keeper where she also does outstanding performances as she did in “Little Miss Sunshine”. Toni Collette and Greg Kinnear do a good job portraying of trying but stressed parents, however Greg’s performance was sometimes off as I felt his moods were occasionally mixed up. Paul Dano’s acting was magnificent as he truly captures the confused and rebelling son stuck with a family he “hates”. Alan Arkin truly brought his annoying yet wildly hilarious character to life. Steve Carell never disappoints me when it comes to his acting.

What I really liked about this movie was the dark humour. They were able to make certain situations funny though they are usually taken seriously, which makes them even funnier. The reactions of each individual character were truly entertaining. My favourite scene of the whole movie was when Dwayne finds out something that almost destroys him, and, after nearly a year of silence, runs out of the van into a ditch so to scream a curse and have a mental breakdown. There was not one part of this movie that I did not like as it did not once fail to bore me or make me think “that was a lame scene”, which is a common occurrence for me when watching movies.

The moral of “Little Miss Sunshine” is clearly portrayed as it shows that though families fight and do things that you may not agree with, in the end it is always they who are there for you and will not leave you regardless of the circumstances.

This movie is rather 18A as it has some sex and drug related themes and well as consistent use of swear words and has situations that are not appropriate for younger viewers. This movie is more suited for teenagers and adults as they can understand the humour. Overall, “Little Miss Sunshine” is a fantastic movie that I would highly recommend to those who can appreciate dark humour. To those who don’t, well, you’ll be missing out one great film.


4 ½ top hats out of 5



Briana Hwang is a senior in high school. She is interested in pursuing a career in the arts as she enjoys painting and drawing. For fun she plays recreational soccer and is trying to become a master at yoga. Briana is an animal-lover as she greatly supports WPSA and other animal-charity based organizations. You’ll most likely find her hiking, walking, or running as she loves to be outside and enjoys outside based activities.


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