Little Miss Sunshine – Winners and Losers

2 10 2006

Just watched Little Miss Sunshine last night – a little late in the release cycle, but was finally convinced to go out and watch it. Little Miss Sunshine introduces and follows a family of six: the dad who’s obsessed with winning but hasn’t really won anything, the granddad that has decided that being old means doing whatever you want, the uncle who failed committing suicide, the son who ascribes to Nietzsche and has taken a vow of silence for months long, the daughter who is still learning her way and the mom just trying to hold it all together. The movie follows the family in a trip to California to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in California for Olive, the daughter. RottenTomatoes as usual is a better place to get a synopsis and more reviews of the movie.

When mainstream drivel gets you down, it’s always nice to see a movie like Little Miss Sunshine to remind you why the art of cinema will continue to be a powerful aspect of modern culture. I think what really makes this movie great is its subtler points – a testament to great writing. When the movie tries to get a little too direct with its judgment on beauty queens and pageants, that’s when it is actually at its weakest.

This family is a band of losers, at least losers as they would be judged by typical American standards. Greg Kinnear delivers great lines as the dad like “sarcasm is the instrument of losers” and “don’t apologize, only losers apologize” (paraphrases), seemingly a subtle indicting on the American obsession with winning.

Combine this with nicely incorporated references to the typical “you’re only a loser if you don’t try”, there is a counterbalance struck in this movie. The family definitely has bravado, enough to get to California and triumphing over many absurd events in just a two day span. So are they losers? Not according to that definition.

So what’s the message? This isn’t a message movie, just a well done movie to make you think (and laugh out loud at times).

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