Sunshine Cleaning (2008) Poster

Sunshine Cleaning (2008)

  • Rate: 7.0/10 total 29,266 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 27 March 2009 (USA)
  • Runtime: 91 min
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Sunshine Cleaning (2008)


Sunshine Cleaning 2008tt0862846.jpg poster

  • IMDb page: Sunshine Cleaning (2008)
  • Rate: 7.0/10 total 29,266 votes 
  • Genre: Comedy | Drama
  • Release Date: 27 March 2009 (USA)
  • Runtime: 91 min
  • Filming Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA
  • Budget: $8,000,000(estimated)
  • Gross: $16,174,377(Worldwide)
  • Director: Christine Jeffs
  • Stars: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin
  • Original Music By: Michael Penn   
  • Soundtrack: Barcelona
  • Sound Mix: DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS
  • Plot Keyword: Private School | School | Business | Death | Crime Scene

Writing Credits By:

  • Megan Holley (written by)

Known Trivia

  • Amy Adams played the girlfriend of John Krasinski’s character Jim Halpert on The Office during parts of the first and second seasons. Emily Blunt is Krasinski’s girlfriend in real life.
  • The filmmakers have said in interviews their story is based on a 2001 National Public Radio “All Things Considered” report about two women in the Seattle suburbs who started a biohazard removal/cleaning service. They are best friends, not sisters.
  • The car Rose drives is a Toyota Tercel Second Generation (1982-1986).

Goofs: Continuity: In the scene where Norah and Lynn are at the party, Norah passes the joint to a guy next to Lynn. She does not get it back, but she can be seen smoking it in the following shots.

Plot: In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business — a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service — with her unreliable sister. Full summary »  »

Story: A family. Rose and Norah, in Albuquerque, lost their mother when they were young. Rose is responsible – a housecleaner, raising her seven-year-old son Oscar. She's also having an affair with Mac, a married cop, her high-school sweetheart. Norah can't hold a job. Their dad, Joe, is quirky. When Oscar is expelled for odd behavior, Rose wants to earn enough to send him to private school. Mac suggests she clean up after crime scenes, suicides, and deaths that go undiscovered for awhile. Rose enlists Norah, and Sunshine Cleaners is born. Norah bonds with the dead, Rose finds out that it's a regulated business, and complications arise. Can a family marked by tragedy sort things out?Written by <>  


Synopsis: Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) finds herself a single mother attempting to support her son Oscar (Jason Spevack) and her unreliable sister Norah (Emily Blunt) while working a mundane job as a maid. Once the head cheerleader in school with plenty of prospects, Rose now has little to show for her years, and while she still sees the former lead football player (Steve Zahn), it is little more than a despondent affair. When Oscar is expelled from public school, Rose takes a job as a bio-hazard crime-scene cleaner to help pay for a private education, and brings Norah on to help in her steadily growing business. As the sisters work to clean up the messes left behind by the chaotic lives of others, they must learn to reconcile their own differences and overcome a troubled past if they hope to prosper in their newfound venture. – The Massie Twins.

From the producers of LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE comes the charming Sundance hit SUNSHINE CLEANING, a spirited comedy-drama starring Amy Adams (DOUBT, ENCHANTED) as single-mom Rose Lorkowski, a plucky ex-cheerleader now cleaning houses and having an affair with her high-school sweetheart, Mac (Steve Zahn). When Mac, a police detective, suggests the lucrative job opportunities in crime-scene cleanup, Rose enlists her sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), to join her in the gory but ultimately fulfilling business enterprise. The sisterly chemistry between Adams and Blunt is impressive and forms the crux of their characters’ growth throughout the film: Roses optimism–reciting self-affirmations and positive spins on her occupation ("Its a growth industry")–complements Norahs cynical, wickedly humorous exterior, which hides her bruised, vulnerable heart. Rounding out this likable cast is Alan Arkin, appearing as Joe, the sisters’ lovably grumpy father, and Jason Spevack, who plays Roses eight-year-old son, Oscar. SUNSHINE CLEANING has all the familiar ingredients of a small independent feature (dysfunctional family spanning three generations, offbeat comic situations, dark emotional subtext), but thanks to the keen directorial hand of Christine Jeffs (who also directed the Sylvia Plath biopic, SYLVIA), and a smart screenplay from first-time writer Megan Holley, the film manages to transcend indie-film quirkiness, offering a heartfelt story of family bonds and the unexpected curveballs in lifes road. [D-Man2010]

Former high school cheerleading captain Rose Lorkowski (Adams) is a thirty-something single mother who cleans houses for a living. Wanting to send her trouble-making eight-year-old son Oscar (Jason Spevack) to a private school, Rose decides to take her married lover’s advice and get into the "lucrative" business of crime scene cleanup. Rose convinces her disillusioned, underachieving sister Norah (Blunt) to join her in the enterprise, which she calls "Sunshine Cleaning." The sisters begin to find meaning in their function to "help" in some way in the aftermath of a loss, just as the job stirs up memories of their own mother’s death. Their priorities and goals tested, Rose and Norah face hard challenges as they strive to improve their lives. [D-Man2010]


FullCast & Crew

Produced By:

  • Jeb Brody known as producer
  • Bob Dohrmann known as co-producer (as Robert J. Dohrmann)
  • Dan Genetti known as associate producer
  • Peter Saraf known as producer
  • Marc Turtletaub known as producer
  • Glenn Williamson known as producer

FullCast & Crew:

  • Amy Adams known as Rose Lorkowski
  • Emily Blunt known as Norah Lorkowski
  • Alan Arkin known as Joe Lorkowski
  • Jason Spevack known as Oscar Lorkowski
  • Steve Zahn known as Mac
  • Mary Lynn Rajskub known as Lynn
  • Clifton Collins Jr. known as Winston
  • Eric Christian Olsen known as Randy
  • Paul Dooley known as Sherm
  • Kevin Chapman known as Carl
  • Judith Jones known as Paula Datzman-Mead
  • Amy Redford known as Heather
  • Christopher Dempsey known as Gun Shop Suicide
  • Vic Browder known as Gun Shop Owner
  • Ivan Brutsche known as Above and Beyond Worker
  • Arron Shiver known as Detective
  • Ralph Jason Aukison known as Gun Shop Employee #1
  • Cliff Garstka Sr. known as Gun Shop Employee #2 (as Clifford R. Garstka Sr.)
  • Charles Domenici known as Gun Shop Employee #3
  • Susie Yip known as Mrs. Kim
  • Mike Miller known as Counselor (as Michael L.. Miller)
  • Sarah Hudnut known as Teacher
  • Anya Alyassin known as Mac's Daughter
  • Pab Schwendimann known as Apartment Super
  • William Sterchi known as Candy Store Manager
  • Amber Midthunder known as Candy Store Girl
  • Angelique Midthunder known as Girl's Mother
  • Olive Gallagher known as Seminar Speaker
  • Lois Geary known as Mrs. Davis
  • Frank E. Cruz known as Shrimp Truck Driver
  • Esodie Geiger known as Reporter
  • Kevin Wiggins known as Police Officer
  • Epifanio Hernández known as Restaurant Owner
  • McKenna Hutton known as Young Rose
  • Mason Frank known as Young Norah
  • Marya Beauvais known as TV Waitress / Mother Lorkowski
  • Maddie Corman known as Mousy Baby Shower Guest
  • Rebekah Wiggins known as Peppy Shower Guest
  • Kristin Reese known as Hinkle's Employee Singer #1
  • Veronica Hernandez known as Hinkle's Employee Singer #2
  • Jourdan Reese known as Hinkle's Employee Singer #3
  • Josh Berry known as TV Detective
  • Jason Henning known as Guy In White Coat (uncredited)
  • Kathy Lamkin known as Fair N Square Owner (uncredited)
  • Davin Ruggles known as Paulas daughter (uncredited)



Supporting Department

Makeup Department:
  • Debra Clair known as key hair stylist (as Debra R. Clair)
  • Tarra D. Day known as department head makeup (as Tarra Day)
  • Lisa Hill known as additional makeup artist
  • Voni Hinkle known as department head hair
  • Vanessa Jaramillo known as additional makeup artist
  • Mary Hedges Lampert known as key hair stylist (as Mary Lampert)
  • Karen McDonald known as key makeup artist
  • Yvette Meely known as additional hair stylist (uncredited)

Art Department:

  • David Bancroft known as set painter
  • David D. Baumann known as assistant property master
  • Rick Belosic known as propmaker
  • Craig P. Bradley known as set dresser
  • Benjamin Joseph Bustos known as set dresser (as Benjamin J. Bustos)
  • Jason Critchfield known as set painter
  • Ralph Diaz known as on-set greensman
  • James Duddy known as set dresser
  • Gary Eilar known as set dresser
  • Dan Fitzgerald known as storyboard artist
  • Severino Gonzales known as lead person
  • Dwayne Grady known as property master (as Dwayne David Grady)
  • Mike J. Hanrahan known as set dresser
  • Eddie Jimenez known as propmaker
  • Ester Kim known as additional props
  • Debbie Long known as set dresser
  • Johnny Long known as greensman
  • Amahl Lovato known as set designer (as Amahl H. Lovato)
  • Amy Marsh known as art department coordinator (as Amy Elizabeth Marsh)
  • David McQuade known as assistant property master
  • Cee Moravec known as on-set dresser
  • Randy Ortega known as paint gang boss (as Randy E. Ortega)
  • Robert Ortega known as paint foreman
  • Chris Painter known as set dresser
  • Wilhelm Pfau known as set dressing buyer
  • Mark Purtill known as propmaker
  • Ian Scroggins known as set dresser
  • Jamie Archer known as construction coordinator (uncredited)
  • Ellen Lampl known as graphic designer (uncredited)
  • Steven Maes known as graphic designer (uncredited)
  • Leigh Maney known as additional on-set props (uncredited)
  • Edward McLoughlin known as set decorator: re-shoots (uncredited)
  • Brooke Peters known as art department coordinator: reshoots (uncredited)




Production Companies:

  • Overture Films (presents)
  • Big Beach Films (as Big Beach) (in association with) (producer)
  • Back Lot Pictures (producer)
  • Clean Sweep Productions

Other Companies:

  • Act One Script Clearance  script research
  • Big Time Picture Company  post-production facilities
  • Camera Service Center  camera equipment (as ARRI/Camera Service Center)
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  cranes
  • Chapman/Leonard Studio Equipment  dollies
  • Cinetic Media  U.S. sales
  • Company 3  digital intermediate
  • Deborah Ross Film Design  title design
  • Lakeshore Records  soundtrack
  • Mimeograph Records  score recording facility (as Mimeograph)
  • Murphy PR  publicity
  • Pacific Title  titles and opticals
  • Pass, The  score recording facility
  • Reel Chefs Catering  catering
  • SabuCat Productions  stock footage
  • Scarlet Letters  end titles
  • Sloss Eckhouse Brennan Law  legal services (as Sloss, Eckhouse, Brennan)
  • Sony Pictures Studios  post-production sound services
  • Technicolor  release printing
  • Trevanna Post  post-production accounting


  • A-Film Distribution (2009) (Netherlands) (theatrical)
  • Capelight Pictures (2008) (Germany) (theatrical)
  • Festive Films (2009) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Golden Village Pictures (2009) (Singapore) (theatrical)
  • Kinepolis Film Distribution (KFD) (2009) (Belgium) (theatrical)
  • Overture Films (2009) (USA) (theatrical)
  • Phantom Film (2009) (Japan) (theatrical)
  • Surreal Films (2009) (France) (theatrical)
  • Svensk Filmindustri (SF) (2009) (Sweden) (theatrical)
  • A-Film Home Entertainment (2009) (Netherlands) (DVD)
  • Anchor Bay Entertainment (UK) (2009) (UK) (all media)
  • Anchor Bay Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD)
  • Anchor Bay Entertainment (2009) (USA) (DVD) (Blu-ray)
  • Argentina Video Home (2010) (Argentina) (DVD)
  • CN Entertainment (2009) (Hong Kong) (DVD)
  • Canana Films (2010) (Mexico) (all media)
  • E1 Entertainment (2009) (Canada) (DVD)
  • Europa Filmes (2010) (Brazil) (all media)
  • Film1 (2010) (Netherlands) (TV) (limited)
  • MG Film (2009) (Croatia) (all media)
  • Madman Entertainment (2008) (Australia) (all media)
  • Madman Entertainment (2008) (New Zealand) (all media)
  • Net5 (2011) (Netherlands) (TV)
  • Odeon (2009) (Greece) (all media)
  • Svensk Filmindustri (SF) (2009) (Sweden) (DVD)



Other Stuff

Special Effects:

  • Digiscope (digital visual effects)
  • Drumfire (digital visual effects)
  • Great FX (uncredited)

Visual Effects by:

  • Brad Carvey known as visual effects supervisor
  • Michael Plescia known as digital artist: Digiscope
  • Brennan Prevatt known as compositing supervisor: Digiscope
  • Janet Quen known as digital artist: Digiscope
  • Dana Robinson known as digital artist: Digiscope
  • Laurel Lyn Schulman known as digital effects producer: Digiscope (as Laurel Schulman)
  • Christopher Stack known as imaging supervisor: Digiscope

Release Date:

  • USA 18 January 2008 (Sundance Film Festival)
  • Germany 8 February 2008 (European Film Market)
  • France 11 September 2008 (Deauville American Film Festival)
  • Germany 30 September 2008 (Hamburg Film Festival)
  • USA 6 February 2009 (Oxford Film Festival)
  • USA 7 March 2009 (SIFF Supporter Preview)
  • USA 13 March 2009 (limited)
  • USA 20 March 2009 (expansion)
  • Canada 27 March 2009 (limited)
  • USA 27 March 2009
  • Sweden 8 April 2009
  • Turkey 9 April 2009 (Istanbul Film Festival)
  • Iceland 17 April 2009 (Green Light Film Festival)
  • Israel 23 April 2009
  • Greece 14 May 2009
  • Netherlands 14 May 2009
  • Germany 21 May 2009
  • Belgium 3 June 2009
  • France 10 June 2009
  • Australia 11 June 2009
  • South Africa 12 June 2009
  • Ireland 26 June 2009
  • UK 26 June 2009
  • Denmark 3 July 2009
  • Singapore 9 July 2009
  • Switzerland 9 July 2009 (German speaking region)
  • Japan 11 July 2009
  • New Zealand 6 August 2009
  • Kuwait 13 August 2009
  • Hong Kong 23 August 2009
  • Austria 28 August 2009
  • Turkey 28 August 2009
  • South Korea 3 September 2009
  • Hungary 12 November 2009
  • Taiwan 13 November 2009
  • Lebanon 19 February 2010 (limited)
  • Venezuela 26 February 2010
  • Italy 9 April 2010
  • Argentina 21 July 2010 (DVD premiere)
  • Spain 23 July 2010
  • Brazil 25 September 2010 (Rio de Janeiro International Film Festival)
  • Brazil 1 January 2011

MPAA: Rated R for language, disturbing images, some sexuality and drug use



Filmography links and data courtesy of The Internet Movie Database

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Posted on March 30, 2012 by Harry in Movies | Tags: , , .


  1. David H. Schleicher from New Jersey, USA
    30 Mar 2012, 2:51 pm

    A struggling single mom named Rose (Amy Adams in her comedy/dramawheelhouse) gets tired of working for a maid service and boldly decidesto branch out into crime scene clean-up with her lay-about sister Norah(Emily Blunt, ironically named) in Christine Jeffs' observant andeasy-going "Sunshine Cleaning".

    Although it has been marketed as one of those quirky dramedies thestudios love to shove down our throats every year, Jeffs' film (from asolid screenplay from Megan Holley) is more in tune with somber yethopeful indie character studies. The film deals with some dark subjectmatter and poignantly explores grief and family dysfunction butmaintains a positive outlook and contains some solid situationallaughs. The combination of an interesting set-up, smart writing,likable characters and winning performances make the film, even when itteeter-totters from dark to sappy, go down smooth. None of thecharacters seem forced upon us, unlike the overtly quirky family from"Little Miss Sunshine" or the stylized dialog spewing teens from"Juno". These characters talk and interact like real people and there'sa naturalism in the way their relationships develop.

    It makes for engaged viewing when a film like this doesn't feel theneed to explain every detail or tie up every loose end so nicely. Somesubplots involving Norah taking a personal interest in one of theclean-up jobs that leads to an awkward friendship with a blood-bankworker (Mary Lynn Rajskub of "24" fame) or a one-armed supply store guy(Clifton Collins Jr.) who takes a shine to Rose aren't resolved in atypical fashion, and some things are never made known or leftopen-ended. It makes the film feel truer to life. Even when Rose'sprecocious kid (Jason Spevack) tries to talk to heaven on a CB radio inwhat would normally be considered a contrived and cutesy moment, youfeel like you've grown to know the character and it's just something hewould do. Likewise, Alan Arkin as the sisters' scheming entrepreneurialfather behaves and acts like a real guy who's had to struggle raisingtwo girls alone and is just trying to help them catch a break.

    Amy Adams, of course, is an absolute delight. Something about hergirl-next-door good looks combined with her innate talents as acomedienne and her theatrical background that produces some of the bestfacial expressions and crying-on-cue you'll ever see make her theperfect choice for this type of role. While it's easy to sing thepraises of Adams, and she's never been more endearing or relatable thanhere, Emily Blunt proves to be an excellent foil. It's Blunt's sharpportrayal and her character's story arc that provide the film itsemotional weight. Both actresses deserve to be remembered come awardsseason, and "Sunshine Cleaning" is that rare spring-time bird: a filmworthy of buzz.

  2. Willemite from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 2:51 pm

    I quite liked the film. I would watch Amy Adams stare at grass andEmily Blunt is always top notch. One thing that stuck out for me aboutthe film was that it offers a look at real working-class people doingreal work, and does so in a respectful manner. Rose tries to put apositive spin on her post-mortem cleanup work to gathered yuppies in anawkward social setting and is clearly defensive. But you can see hercoming to value the work for the good it does. There is nothing wrongwith adventure thrillers about high crimes and misdemeanors, about thefar-too-well-to-do, and about easy lives, but it is heartening to seehard-scrabble work valued, not just as a barrier to be overcome but asa thing that has intrinsic value and that does real good. Rose and Noratake on work that the yuppie ladies would never dream of tackling, anddo real good for real people. This is a film that does not dazzle uswith fireworks or glitter, but it has heart. We like that.

  3. jon.h.ochiai ( from Los Angeles, CA
    30 Mar 2012, 2:51 pm

    In confronting her big sister Rose (Amy Adams), emotionally bare Norah(Emily Blunt) declares, "I don't need you to take care of me anymore.It's not your job… It never was." Director Christine Jeffs's "SunshineCleaning" is very unexpected, in the best way. It is funny andwonderfully quirky. The surprise is its poignancy and brilliantresolve. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are amazing, and have a starkchemistry. Their relationship is unquestioned love, and explosiveconflict. Meg Holly's screenplay set in Albuquerque, New Mexico followsthe unlikely story of Rose and Norah as they pursue their business inthe biohazard removal/ crime scene cleaning service. Now that is novel.But "Sunshine Cleaning" is really about touchingly completing Rose andNorah's relationship with their dead mother. Adams balancesvulnerability and brave resilience. Blunt is brilliant bravado maskingprofound suffering. Jeffs and Holly demonstrate a natural compassionand power throughout "Sunshine Cleaning".

    Rose is the dedicated single mom raising Oscar (natural Jason Spevack).Oscar is having problems in school, displaying anti-social behaviorsuch as licking his teacher's leg. Oscar requires special schooling,something Rose can't afford with her current cleaning service job. Thisis a far cry from her glorious cheerleader days. Oh yes, she is havingan affair with the former quarterback Mac (jerky good Steve Zahn), whohas no intentions of leaving his wife. Rose's life is broken. At onepoint she breaks down telling Winston (Clifton Collins Jr.), "I wasgood at getting guys to want me…" But she can't get them to love her.

    Younger sister Norah is the smart ass brazen slacker, who can't hold ajob. Norah lives with their Dad Joe (wonderful Alan Arkin). WidowerJoe, instead of having a real job, always has some sort of businessscheme brewing whether it is selling candy pop corn or moving shrimp inbulk. Arkin restrains Joe's idiosyncrasies enough to provoke ourcompassion. As it turns out his grandson Oscar is really bright, just avictim of the family weirdness, which is not fatal. Spevack has theright charm to carry this off.

    At the urging of Mac (Zahn) and using some of his police detectivepull, Rose falls into the biohazard removal and crime scene cleaningniche business. Of course she enrolls Norah into the business as well,after all what else is Norah going to do. Rose forms a close bond withCleaning Supply Owner Winston (compassionate Clifton Collins), but sheis too blind to see that he is a decent man, unlike Mac.

    The captivating narrative thread involves Norah's obsession to watchtheir mother's TV movie appearance, where she plays a waitress. BothRose and Norah deal with the tragedy of their mother differently. Andit is not coincidence that their job deals with death and cleaning upall aspects of the aftermath, the physical and the human. It'shysterical as Norah falls into a bloodied mattress. It is touchinglysolemn as Rose sits with the elder widow, whose husband killed himself.Jeffs reminds us of our humanity throughout. There is a mesmerizingscene as both Rose and Norah watch TV.

    "Sunshine Cleaning" is wonderfully quirky, at times morbid with atwisted sense of humor. "Sunshine Cleaning" also reminds us thatsometimes the people we least expect will step up and be great. Adamsand Blunt are awesome. Take a chance on "Sunshine Cleaning".

  4. simon-prometheus from Canada
    30 Mar 2012, 2:51 pm

    Of late, independent films seem to fall into three ruts; the quirkyindie film, the contrived indie film and the quirkily contrived indiefilm. Thankfully, for the most part, Sunshine Cleaning manages to avoidthese associated pitfalls, and is instead a benchmark for how twosensational performances can succeed in drastically improving thequality of a film.

    These aforementioned indie clichés are quite the conundrum when lookedat thoughtfully. The birth of independent film-making stemmed fromcreativity and desire to be liberated from the shadow of the majormovie conglomerates. Yet now, most of these offbeat flicks are as coldand calculated as any big budget summer movie and often drown in wackyplots and bizarre characters which are not of what free film should bean expression.

    Starring the consistently stellar and always delightful leading ladiesof Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, Sunshine Cleaning tells the bittersweetstory of two sisters (Adams and Blunt) and their struggles to purge thehorror of their mother's suicide and live normal lives. Adams as Roseand Blunt as Norah are polar opposites; Rose was the head cheerleaderin high school and aches to regain that notoriety in her adult life andNorah the 'screw-up', the black sheep of the family. They are heldtogether loosely by Rose's son Oscar and their father (Alan Arkin) thatis until they find themselves in need of work. Through a less thanprofessional police connection of Rose's (Steve Zahn) they come tostart a crime scene cleanup service called Sunshine Cleaning and whilethey sought money, they ended up finding something more profound.

    Adams and Blunt truly are remarkable and give bonafide Oscar worthyperformances. Their characters never fall to any deprecating indiequirks, and are fully realized individuals. Zahn is solid in a smallerrole, as is Clifton Collins Jr. as a clean-up store owner and all lendto a story that did not by any means conclude where I was suspecting.Many of the subplots are left open, but not in a unsatisfying way andwhile featuring ups and downs along the way, Sunshine Cleaning managesto find a hopeful tone without being sticky sweet. Perhaps by favouriteaspect outside of the performances was Adam's character. We have seenin many films the former cheerleader who has grown up under the shadowof the 'losers' of their school, but never have I seen such an honestlook from the view of the former. Perhaps this is a testament to Adamsacting skills, but I was impressed nevertheless.

    Sunshine Cleaning keeps you involved based on characters alone. Thereis certainly humour, tragedy and emotion to drive the story but all isborn from the relationship between this broken family. I wish freshfaced director Christine Jeffs had forgone all the trends of the recentindependent film movement, but there is still more then enough toadmire about Sunshine Cleaning, and even more to love.

  5. KalamazooGal from GA, USA
    30 Mar 2012, 2:51 pm

    Just saw the film. I thought I might be let down as I've been waitingwith anticipation since I saw the trailer on youtube. I can say thatnot only was I not let down by this film, but that it superseded themin the most refreshing way possible. There was something I noticedabout the movie. It had great comical moments, but it was not thefunniest film ever. It had great acting, writing, and was filmedbeautifully…and yet I'm sure that it is probably not the best filmever. What I loved about it though was that it was NOT like most filmsof late that try so hard to be the best film ever. You know the oneswith the fancy film work and the melodrama…the lines written that areasking for an Oscar. Sometimes those just irritate me because they aretrying so hard to be a great film and they forget to tell a greatstory. The film makers didn't forget that here. I was not distracted byanything. Everything came together in this film that I felt like I knewthe people and I wanted to know what happened to them. I liked itbecause it reminded me that we're all human. I love that.

  6. C-Younkin from United States
    30 Mar 2012, 2:51 pm

    "Sunshine Cleaning" is an odd mix of gross-out comedy and melodramaticfamily drama, possibly why it's being compared to its producer's firstfilm "Little Miss Sunshine." The other reason might be that Alan Arkinis in it. But if the goal was to capture all of the sweet gooey fun of"Little Miss", then "Cleaning" comes up a couple inches short. Thisflick from director Christine Jeffs and screenwriter Megan Holley isless about being cute or sweet and more about how a person's death canshape our lives. It can be very funny at times and also a downer attimes but what keeps things fairly level are the two fantasticperformances coming from Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

    They play sisters Rose (Adams) and Norah (Blunt). Rose was once a highschool cheerleader dating the star quarterback, but now wonders whathappened to her life. A single mother forced to work as a maid tosupport herself and her young son (Jason Spevack), Rose clings towhat's left of the good in her life by being the mistress to the formerHS Quarterback (Steve Zahn) and hoping that one day she has enoughmoney to get her real estate license. Norah is the younger sister,still living at home with dad (Alan Arkin) and too irresponsible toeven hold on to a waitressing job. Desperately in need of money, thetwo hear about the gross yet apparently lucrative business of biohazardclean up and before you know it they're the Martha Stewarts ofmurder/suicide aftermath.

    It's a funny premise and you can just imagine the morbid and disgustingfun the movie can have with blood, body excretions, horrible smells andother sloppy situations one might encounter with dead-body mess. Ascene where Rose and Norah are carrying a mattress is gross-out humorat its funniest. Holley likes these things but doesn't revel in them.She wants to add some heart as well and succeeds in being both honestand introspective as the job encourages both girls to think about howthe death of their own mother has shaped them into the women they'vebecome. Unfortunately the laughs stop in the second half and the familystuff is pushed to the point of being a drawn-out downer.

    Another thing I thought the movie could have done better was thesubplot of the girls bringing some comfort to the remaining family ofthe deceased. Rose sits with a woman whose husband just committedsuicide and Norah befriends one's aloof daughter (Mary Lyn Rajskub) andtries to connect with her because of her own mommy issues. Just Iwished the movie spent more time inserting the girls into the lives ofthese people and fleshing them out to a point where they're not justtools for sympathy. A supply clerk (Clifton Collins Jr.) is also tossedinto the script as a possible love interest for later but nothing everhappens with him either.

    The melding of gross comedy and heartfelt family drama doesn't reallywork but what holds this movie together are what I believe to be thetwo best female performances i've seen all year so far. Adams is verysympathetic and resourceful as a woman trying to achieve respect againwhereas Blunt plays the wayward younger sister role as bothirresponsibly endearing (her going on about the story of lobster manand how being a bastard is badass makes her a fantastic aunt) andpainfully vulnerable. The two of them together counteract each otherand make a funny, heartfelt pairing. The rest of the cast includes AlanArkin, whose quirky but doesn't really get that much funny material,Clifton Collins, who shows considerable charm and charisma despiteplaying a one-armed supply store clerk, and Jason Spevack, whose cutebut not in that annoying little kid way.

    "Sunshine Cleaning" works on the backs of its two stars though. Overallit doesn't feel as much of a complete work as say "Little MissSunshine", not that I'm trying to compare the two or saying that"Cleaning" is a bad flick, because it's not. I'd say its one of thebetter movies I've seen this year, but it could have benefited from atighter script.

  7. David Ferguson ( from Dallas, Texas
    30 Mar 2012, 2:51 pm

    Greetings again from the darkness. Ahhh, the first 2009 script (byMegan Holley) that has the depth, nuances and multiple sub-plots thatkeep me addicted to movies. Sure one can view this as a simple story ofthe emotionally struggling sisters who start a bio-hazard clean-upcompany to connect not just with each other, but also with those whohave been the victim of a profound event involving a loved one. Itworks just fine on that level.

    Of course, I never make things that easy. For this viewer, I wasabsorbed in the connection the sisters had to their dead mother. Thequest for a glimpse of her one movie of the week performance as awaitress had the sisters trained to stop in their tracks whenever a"waitress" scene appeared on TV. The sisters are played exceedinglywell by the extraordinarily talented Amy Adams and Emily Blunt. Theirperformances lift a really good script to greatness.

    For most movies, that would be plenty. Not here. Director ChristineJeffs ("Sylvia") gets to play with Alan Arkin as the always schemingfather, a quick commentary on the disgusting "solution" of publicschools tendency to require medication on less than robotic kids,emotionally empty relationships, and the absolute need of people toconnect with others.

    The fine acting continues with Steve Zahn as the former high schoolhero turned local cop, whom Adams' character has maintained a long term"bond". Trouble is Zahn's character picked someone else to marry.Clifton Collins Jr adds a wonderful dimension as Adams' possibly newprospect. Mary Lynn Rajskub is just plain fascinating as the lonelylady Blunt thinks she is helping.

    Being promoted as from the creators of "Little Miss Sunshine", this oneoffers up a nice story complimented by many quirks that make it standapart from the masses. Hopefully it will find wider distribution as wecan never have enough top notch story telling.

  8. Amy Adler from Toledo, Ohio
    30 Mar 2012, 2:51 pm

    Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) was once a popular cheerleader and a personof envy, back in those high school years. However, she has made somequestionable choices since then and now works as a home cleaner tosupport herself and her young son, Oscar. She does a have a back-upsystem in her wheeler-dealer father, Joe (Alan Arkin) and in herfrequently out-of-work younger sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), if sheneeds babysitters. She calls upon the eccentric Norah often, especiallyso that she, Rose, can have a late-night tryst with a marriedpoliceman, Mac (Steve Zahn). Ouch, she is still going in the wrongdirection, it seems. However, Mac does give her a work tip. If shecould get into the "crime scene" cleaning business, she would bepulling in large bucks, as removing blood stains is big stuff.Receiving some leads, Rose does begin to get some assignments, likecleaning up after suicide victims and folks that die in their slovenlyhomes. Reluctantly, Norah agrees to help and "Sunshine Cleaners" isborn. But, with Oscar still having trouble in school and with Maccontinuing to string her along in the love department, will Rose reallyrise above her present circumstances? This is a fine film about peoplewho work hard and get nowhere. First, the cast is great, with Adams,Blunt and Arkin delivering terrific performances, ones worthy ofhonors. Blunt, especially, is a treasure as the unconventional woman,haunted by past circumstances, and having trouble fitting into "modern"existence. The lesser actors are also nice, but Zahn is, unfortunately,given no chances to show off his comedic touch. The setting in NewMexico is also lovely, while the costumes and look of the film arelikewise wonderful. That said, special mention should also go to thevery fine, sharply worded script and the secure direction. This is aheart-grabbing story, with unusual elements and unsettling realities.If you love films that are not of the typical, churn-em-out variety,this one is definitely a worthy choice. It is as illuminating assunshine and as touching as they come.

  9. kosmasp
    30 Mar 2012, 2:51 pm

    I watched this movie in a sneak Preview, so I had no idea, what I hadto expect from this. The title is not giving away too much, which Iwill respect, so if you want to read something about the story, readthe summary here on this site.

    The acting in this is really great, but some might have a problem withthe pace of the movie. It moves along slowly and it's not "in yourface" funny, but more a subtle kind of humor (most of the times). It'sactually more a drama than a comedy. And Alan Arkin is exceptional asever, even if he's not the main role here. With a few up and downs,this nice little film has a winning charm, that is worth a view.

  10. GoneWithTheTwins from
    30 Mar 2012, 2:51 pm

    Oddly whimsical for a dark foray into the humorous side of crime-sceneclean-up, Sunshine Cleaning amusingly examines the lives of two sisterswho attempt to mend the hurt in their personal lives while mopping upthe dismal outcomes of others' failed resolutions. Contrasting thesisters' troubles and reconciliation over their mother's tragic deathwith their desire to find a connection within the "clients" of theirpeculiar profession, the film succeeds in presenting an engaginglynaturalistic drama primarily thanks to some enchanting acting from AmyAdams and Emily Blunt, and the always scene-stealing Alan Arkinchanneling his performance from another "Sunshine." Rose Lorkowski (AmyAdams) finds herself a single mother attempting to support her sonOscar (Jason Spevack) and her unreliable sister Norah (Emily Blunt)while working a mundane job as a maid. Once the head cheerleader inschool with plenty of prospects, Rose now has little to show for heryears, and while she still sees the former lead football player (SteveZahn), it is little more than a despondent affair. When Oscar isexpelled from public school, Rose takes a job as a bio-hazardcrime-scene cleaner to help pay for a private education, and bringsNorah on to help in her steadily growing business. As the sisters workto clean up the messes left behind by the chaotic lives of others, theymust learn to reconcile their own differences and overcome a troubledpast if they hope to prosper in their newfound venture.

    Sunshine Cleaning is a deceptively simple slice-of-dysfunctional-lifecomedy that follows a pattern reminiscent of Five Easy Pieces mixedwith Little Miss Sunshine. The characters themselves embody variousstereotypes of maladjusted individuals, each graced with enoughredeeming qualities that they're relatable instead of contemptible -which is often the opposite in painfully dark comedies. Occasionallythe film delves into disturbing complications that seem oddlysuperfluous, but adds depth to the subplots – reflecting the messinessof life, in the anatomy of a metaphorical crime scene waiting to becleaned up.

    Once again Amy Adams' performance is teary-eyed and sensational,demonstrating her maturity, acting chops and surprising range ofemotions that don't seem initially possible with her pleasantlyyouthful face. Supporting roles by Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin are alsonoteworthy; Norah creates the missing piece to Rose's overwhelmingfeelings of responsibility, and their father steals the show withalternating comic relief and desperation for making ends meet. Theirperformances are genuine and affecting and bring light to a story thatis realistically melancholy but unquestionably entertaining.

    – The Massie Twins

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