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</script></div>{/googleAds}Sometimes a cracked windshield on an automobile is all one needs to know about the differences in people's lives. In the case of Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams), that cracked windshield is how she sees, not just the traffic as she drives the streets of Albuquerque , but the world around her in Sunshine Cleaning; its cracked beauty runs in fragmented chaos seemingly unaffected by day-to-day choices. The starkness in the damaged characters of Megan Holly's script gives Sunshine Cleaning its power to mask reality as only a movie; it's a power that continues to earn this movie its critical mojo.

Sunshine  CleaningFollowing in the dysfunctional family footsteps of Little Miss Sunshine is Christine Jeff's aptly directed Sunshine Cleaning. It's the story of one mother's (Adams) attempt to put her son (Jason Spevack) after being encouraged by the public schools to get him meds for his imaginative behavior into a private school by opening an off-the-cuff-illegal-as-hell biohazard removal/crime scene cleaning business with her erraticly-charged sister (Emily Blunt). Assisting the trio with their schemes and possibly their main influence in the creation of the business - is their father (Alan Arkin), emotionally haulted by his wife's suicide; a tragic event that echoes in all their actions. Although billed and advertised as a comedy, Sunshine Cleaning is far from laughable in both action, thought, and tone.

Adams, in a role uncharacteristic of her past efforts, has a tragic sense about her affectations. She's full of subtle charm even in the face of defeat and continues forward with the absolute resolve that makes her character immediate in the face of trying economic times. Blunt, as the kooky sister, has the same touches; however, there is a greater sense of desperation surrounding her movements. She is hiding and in the places where she chooses to hide there are monsters as big as the memories she runs from; monsters that get exorcised under a railroad bridge. Perhaps Arkin and Spevack, the two men of the Lorkowski family, share the bulk of responsibility in keeping these two women sane. Their obstacle the two males face is clear as one is too old and the other too young, but they both dream big for the family and through their dreaming innocent and lonely as it is they see better days ahead.

There is a sudden realness to Jeff's directing style not seen in my book - since the days of Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront. Her film is bitter in tone without the sour-like bite and its theme of isolation is angry without a slap of violence; a landscape where hope comes only as a result of sacrifice. Sunshine Cleaning is an earnest attempt at exorcising all facades of fantasy or escapism from film whether it be through the amount of emotion restrained by her actors or the bleakness with which the film is shot - and its efforts at presenting reality comes across the screen with an unsettling feeling that anything could happen to this family.

Component Grades
4 stars
2 stars
DVD Experience
3 Stars


Blu-ray Details:

Screen Formats: 2.39:1

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

Language and Sound: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailer; "A Fresh Look at a Dirty Business" featurette; audio commentary; sneak peaks.



  • Feature-length commentary track featuring the writer, Megan Holley, and the producer, Glenn Williamson, that is only for die-hards of the film business.


  • Sunshine Cleaning: A Fresh Look at a Dirty Business (1080i, 11:17) - Presents itself as a making-of featurette. Ultimately, the focus is on the idea of the family's business and the writing of the film.

Number of Discs: 1 with Keepcase Packaging