hopscotchee: clifton collins jr. score: 58 rating: R time: 95 minutes
yo, 2008 was ages ago, man!! dang, what a trip!! sorry. didn't mean to start us off sidetracked, but it technically does relate to this movie since it did come out in 2008. which, speaking about this movie, as this is the review for it, similar to batch one's hopscotch, atonement, (but this time around not disappointing), sunshine cleaning was yet again another dvd (remember those) that our parents had when we were younger that we'd grab out and ponder, what is sunshine cleaning?? unfortunately it was r (still is) and our elementary curiosity could never be satisfied...that is until now!! finally of the age to be considered a mature audience, we can watch sunshine cleaning, and, with full confidence, tell you that what sunshine cleaning is is a film that takes a rather neat twist on the dark comedy genre from our favorite producers who brought cinema solid movies like juno and hopscotch alumni, the way way back and little miss sunshine!! typically we'd transition the sentence with a recommendation for some yummy movie treat to snack on during the viewing to set the mood for an enticing watch, however, we want to be completely upfront with ya'll and tell you that this movie (spoiler) does deal with crime scene cleanups (it's r for a reason), so you decide how appetizing popcorn would be while amy adams and emily blunt wash out blood from carpets :)
stomach aside, as sunshine cleaning does fall into the dark comedy genre, it's important to say that the film's more of a serious movie with comedic moments than a comedy with less lighthearted themes. saying the least, it isn't your typical laugh-out-loud endeavor, taking on heavy topics such as (spoiler) suicide, starting with the opening scene of (spoiler) a man at a gun shop committing suicide followed by the later correlating plot twist of (spoiler) rose and norah's mother killing herself when they were just kids. nevertheless, this film's weighty components serve a bigger purpose, resinating with the film's greater theme of finding happiness, seen through both rose's struggles with self-worth in her job and relationship and norah learning how to grow up and move on from her mother's death. for this, sunshine cleaning proves itself to be more than just a traditional, small indie flick that came within the sundance film festival community, responsibly raising awareness through the movie's profound message.
to note, though the film's inclusion of flashbacks helped relay the deeper plot line of (spoiler) the mother's suicide, it was sporadically placed at times, creating more confusion than curiosity until later revealed. an even more prominent jump in the story was seen with norah's character development. focusing mainly on rose's self esteem, the complexities that made up norah (such as her party life, hunt to learn more about her mom, and love life - though it was unclear whether she liked the girl or was just using her for information?) felt underdeveloped. yes, rose did bring the plot together, but her rather basic storyline of (spoiler) 'once-popular-high-school-cheerleader-now-single-mother-trying-to-bring-up-her-low-morale' in comparison to norah's edgy mommy-issue-mix-of-emotions was way too over prioritized. because of this, it allowed the audience to easily follow along with rose's character progression, but linger in wonder, while trying to piece together norah's plot line. even so, the cliche 'opposing-sister-personalities-coming-together-to-help-a-better-cause' worked well for this movie, but could've had more of an impact if they balanced the storylines out.
on a plus side, something positive to mention were the costumes!! already discussed, the film's birth being in 2008 at the peak of low rise jeans, layered long sleeves with short sleeves, and untucked shirts lit up our inner early 2000s hearts!! proudly belonging to the '03 club ourselves (hashtag '03 rocks), the total time travel that happened with the characters' stripped shirts, casual slacks, button up short sleeves, and loose scoop neck tees brought on a wave of friendly nostalgia that the costume team classily encapsulated. whether the styles back then were a bit questionable or not, you gotta love them, which we really did.
so, sure there were some jumps in the script which, overall, might've been a bit more dark than comedy, but there was nothing more fun to see than amy adams and emily blunt back in the days and deliver a promising performance of the realistic ups and downs of life!!
-- thanks, clifton xo