Rated R; Directed by Christine Jeffs; Starring Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Jason Spevack, Clifton Collins Jr., Steve Zahn, Mary Lynn Rajskub
Sunshine Cleaning is one of those lovely little independent films that offers some interesting characters, a decent story, and doesn’t require everything too nice and pat at the end. No, not all independent films are like this, but it’s certainly a rare creature when made my major studios.
Sunshine Cleaning is about two sisters, Rose (Amy Adams) and Norah (Emily Blunt). Rose, a single mother, works as a maid and is having an affair with the married father of her son. Norah, just fired from a waitressing job, is living with her father, Joe (Alan Arkin). None are satisfied with where life has led them, but when Rose’s son, Oskar (Jason Spevack), requires private schooling, Rose’s determination leads to opening Sunshine Cleaning, a service that cleans up after bloody tragedies.
Sunshine Cleaning offers a nice story about two different women. The fun is watching both Rose and Norah learning the ropes as “biohazards waste removal” experts. Director Christine Jeffs keeps the tone of the movie lighthearted, but strangely ominous. Watching them clean up bloody scenes plays with your expectations of where the movie is going to end up.
Both Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are marvelous as Rose and Norah, while Alan Arkin once again gives us a caring father and grandfather. Clifton Collins Jr. also turns in a wonderful performance as the owner of a janitorial supplies store.
Sunshine Cleaning is a lovely, character-driven film. Though the movie sometimes slows down, the characters and their history keep you engaged. It’s definitely worth seeing.