Monday, August 07, 2006
Little. Yellow. Different.
Like the line in Woody Allen's film Celebrity says, you can tell a lot about a society by looking at what it celebrates. In the U.S., circa now, that'd be wealth, power and beauty. The film Little Miss Sunshine is about a family that lacks all three, but they're all the more likeable for it. Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris and written by Michael Arndt, this smart, warm-hearted movie follows the dysfunctional bunch on a haphazard road trip leading to a kiddie beauty pageant. While the story touches on a multitude of "issues"--from suicide to body image--it does so without being dragged down in the attempt.
The acting is terrific across the board with Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Alan Arkin, Steve Carell and Paul Dano each getting a moment or two to shine, but the real stand-out in the crew is Abigail Breslin as Olive. She is remarkably believable and incredibly charming as a little girl who dreams of pageant stardom in the most sweet-hearted of ways--plus, she delivers the funniest line in the movie like a seasoned pro.
The film's a crowd-pleaser, sure, but a very well-made one. And that doesn't diminish the fact that obvious care was taken to tell the story of these "losers" with real compassion. Who couldn't use a little more of that?