Sunday, August 13, 2006

DAY 97

Sorry my posts have been a bit sparse lately. V. busy at work!

Nevertheless, E and I managed to make it to the movies this weekend and saw Little Miss Sunshine. I love this movie. It's an amazing character study with brilliant performances by a very talented ensemble cast; the likes of which I haven't seen since American Beauty.

Steve Carrell is stellar in his dramatic role as Frank, the preeminent Proust scholar who has just survived his failed attempt at suicide. Frank's sister, Cheryl, takes him in to stay with her family because Frank doesn't have the insurance coverage for a suicide watch. Cheryl's family consists of her ne'er-do-well husband (played flawlessly by Greg Kinnear but bearing an uncanny resemblance to his role in The Matador) who is on the brink of bankruptcy and hoping that his "Nine Steps to Success" motivational program will bring him the success that has thus far evaded him. Cheryl's teenage Neitzsche-devoted son, Duane, has taken a vow of silence until he enters flight school next year and communicates exclusively by hand signals and comical notes scratched on a small pad of paper. Her daughter, Olive, is seven years old and about to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant -- a competition for which she is sorely unprepared. Cheryl's father-in-law is also in residence with them as he has been evicted from his nursing home for untoward conduct. He has taken to snorting heroine at night and coaching young Olive in her dance routine for the upcoming beauty pageant by day.

The whole family takes a road trip in their Volkswagon van to California (because they can't afford the flights) so that Olive can compete in Little Miss Sunshine, a dream come true for young Olive. During this fateful (and highly amusing) journey, each of the characters undergoes profound loss, epiphany, and healing. It's a brilliant script, brilliantly cast, and brilliantly directed (do you hear me, Academy?). I wouldn't change a minute of it. If you only see one movie this year, make it Little Miss Sunshine. You won't regret it.

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