When watching Little Miss Sunshine for the first time at 11, the film’s nuance completely went over my head. For little Niamh, it was a bland, boring film in which a strange family steal a corpse. That’s it. It had such little impact on my life I somewhat erased the film from my memory, never really thinking twice in the years post-viewing when people mentioned their fondness for the film. Having been over a decade since I last saw the film, I decided to give it another go and let me tell you, I’m so glad I did.
Written by Niamh Brook
“Outstanding soldier! Outstanding!”
The film can only be described as a joyous celebration of mediocrity. Not one main character in this film is special, with each character, in their own way, showcasing the beauty in the mundane. With the failing father, the stressed-out mother, a depressed uncle, a junkie granddad and two weird kids all exude warmth and their genuine love for one another creates a family unit very rarely depicted in cinema, dysfunctional yet deeply caring.
The premise of the film is simple, a family must take a cross country road trip to get the youngest member, Olive, to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. Little Miss Sunshine is sweet and easy to watch but makes sure to take its time to delve into some pretty heavy topics such as suicide, depression and body image.
What really makes Little Miss Sunshine stand out amongst the rest is the way in which it develops its characters. It’s not unusual for comedies to limit a character’s growth in favour of a few more gags. With this film, each character’s arc is clear and concise, all changed for the better by the time they reach the titular pageant.
Little Miss Sunshine is a truly a gorgeous little film, with great heart and funny moments, it’s a film I will now reach for whenever I need a little bit of loveliness in my life.