Little Miss Sunshine (Sous-titres français)
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Pile together a blue-ribbon cast, a screenplay high in quirkiness, and the Sundance stamp of approval, and you've got yourself a crossover indie hit. That formula worked for Little Miss Sunshine, a frequently hilarious study of family dysfunction. Meet the Hoovers, an Albuquerque clan riddled with depression, hostility, and the tattered remnants of the American Dream; despite their flakiness, they manage to pile into a VW van for a weekend trek to L.A. in order to get moppet daughter Olive (Abigail Breslin) into the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. Much of the pleasure of this journey comes from watching some skillful comic actors doing their thing: Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette as the parents (he's hoping to become a self-help authority), Alan Arkin as a grandfather all too willing to give uproariously inappropriate advice to a sullen teenage grandson (Paul Dano), and a subdued Steve Carell as a jilted gay professor on the verge of suicide. The film is a! crowd-pleaser, and if anything is a little too eager to bend itself in the direction of quirk-loving Sundance audiences; it can feel forced. But the breezy momentum and the ingenious actors help push the material over any bumps in the road.-- Robert Horton
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Yes, it's another dark comedy about a quirky, dysfunctional family. But "Little Miss Sunshine" approaches the family dysfunction from a bizarre, smart, and sometimes slightly nuts perspective. This indie movie deserves all the credit that is being heaped on it -- it's truly glorious.
Richard (Greg Kinnear) is an anxious motivational speaker who talks a lot about "winners" and "losers," which is pretty funny when one considers that his family is full of oddities. His wife Sheryl (Toni Colette) is on edge as Richard inflicts his nine-step program on the family, and her Proust-scholar brother has just arrived, after a failed suicide attempt.
And then there's little Olive (Abigail Breslin) -- she's wants to be in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant, and is being coached by her outspoken, heroin-snorting grandfather. When she gets into the pageant, the family piles into a minibus to go to Redondo Beach. Unfortunately, the trip exposes all the problems they have -- death, disappointment, suicide and lost dreams. And a broken clutch.
If you're going to make a dark comedy about a family, then for crying out loud, give it a heart. "Little Miss Sunshine" realizes this, in a little family world where a wordless hug speaks more than dozens of empty lines. These people drive each other crazy, don't ever communicate, but they really do love each other -- yes, even foulmouthed Grandpa.
But lest anyone think it's syrupy, Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris wrap it in a wicked cocoon of clever humor. "Sarcasm is the refuge of losers," Richard says smugly, only to receive a sarcastic "REALLY?Read more ›
I actually don't like too much dysfunctionalness in movies if it ends up being depressing - but in this movie, this family's dysfunctionalness ends up being absolutely hilarious and a joy to watch. There is a good ending - but a dysfunctional anti-good ending which was so clever.
I can't find fault in anyone's acting performance - they were all excellent. I particularly enjoyed Steve Carell's restrained depressed suicidal character. And of course, Abigail Breslin is excellent as the optimistic, quirky and a little bit dorky little girl. Alan Arkin's drug-snorting, porn addicted grandfather character was a real hoot too.
There was an excellent blend of broad comedy, sometimes even monty python-esque, subtle droll comedy, irony, and real emotion and love between the family members.
My favorite character is the suicidal gay uncle (see what I mean about funny characters) played by Steve Carell who delivers flawlessly. From Anchorman to 40 Year Old Virgin he has made me laugh my head off and Little Miss Sunshine is no exception. Following in a close second is the heroin addicted grandpa (played by Alan Arkan) who is coaching the daughter on how to win the beauty pageant.
The cast is rounded out with a teenager who has taken a vow of silence, a father who is failing miserably in his attempt to get his self help book published, a mother who's caught in the middle of it all, and a little girl who desperately wants to be a beauty queen.
Take this family on a rushed trip through California in order to a reach the little girl's beauty pageant and you are bound to have some funny situations. But there is also some pathos in this movie and that's what I love about it the most. There is a sort of melancholy heart warming as you watch this loser family face tragedy after tragedy and yet still they keep on trying and they come closer together because of their defeats. This feeling is almost better than the humor.
My only problem with the movie was that it was too short, but it's mix of humor, pathos and excellent acting makes it a wonderful movie to watch (and an excellent nominee for Best Picture).
Most recent customer reviews
A spunky kid surrounded by a dysfunctional family. The acting is excellent and the story is both touching & funny. Definitely a worthwhile purchase.Published 26 days ago by Venita
The title is misleading. The movie seems to champion bad language and disfunctional families.