Sunshine Cleaning

First Hit: Although the film felt a little uneven at times, I was really touched at moments by the breadth of feelings expressed in intimate scenes by both Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

This is a film about a once popular high school cheerleader Rose (played by Amy Adams) who finds herself with a son who struggles at school, a father (played by Alan Arkin) who is still chasing dreams, and a sister Norah (played by Emily Blunt) who seems on the border of giving up, while she attempts to find her way through life.

The film begins and we see Rose working as a cleaning lady in a luxurious home. Her sister is getting fired, again, from a restaurant, and her son is getting kicked out of school. Life is difficult and Rose is deeply driven to find a way. She talks of going into real estate, yet nothing happens in this arena because she is busy keeping her family together.

Blunt plays her sister Norah as dark and troubled and clearly floundering. There are scenes of them separately watching old films on television and we later learn they are looking for a brief appearance of their mom in a very small speaking part in a TV movie.

This is a film about the trials of life and how people deal with them.

Amy Adams brings a complexity and truth to her character and in scenes where we watch her process new developments in her life or her family’s life she is transparently amazing. I fully enjoyed scenes with Adams and Blunt together, but was deeply touch by Blunt’s acting in a scene where she goes “trestling”. Arkin is good and accurately hopeful and crotchety at the same time. Under Director Christine Jeffs, the scenes were allowed to breathe which allowed Megan Holley’s story to evolve fully. The unevenness comes from places where the scenes don’t necessarily add to the film and include scenes with Rose’s married lover.

Overall: I liked this film, its theme of hope and perseverance.