A neurotic family on the verge of a breakdown trek from New Mexico
to California to get the youngest daughter to a beauty pageant.
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Written by Michael Arndt
Starring Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carell,
Alan Arkin, Abigail Breslin, Paul Dano
Oscar Wins - Best Supporting Actor (Alan Arkin),
Best Original Screenplay
Oscar Nominations - Best Picture, Best Supporting Actress
Little Miss Sunshine is one of the most delightful, hilarious, and heartfelt movies I've seen in a long time. The cast is incredibly charismatic and fun to watch, and the screenplay is absolutely flawless, a perfect blend of comedy and drama. And in a lot of ways, it's a fantastic allegory for the modern American family. Everyone has problems, and those problems affect the other family members, but they don't realize how much until it boils over into a full-fledged breakdown. In this movie, the problems are considerably more unique, and they all lead to a beauty pageant out of state.
Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin) learns that she's been nominated for the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in CA. Her father (Greg Kinnear), is trying to sell a self-help plan, her mother (Toni Collette) is taking care of her brother Frank (Steve Carell), a gay man who tried to kill himself, her brother Dwayne (Paul Dano) has taken a vow of silence until he joins the Air Force, and her grandpa (Alan Arkin) is a first class perv who could give a fuck. Together, this trainwreck of a family must drive in a beat-up VW van from New Mexico to California, and along the way, they learn to accept one another and become a real family. It's a fantastic watch.
Little Miss Sunshine had me roaring with laughter from beginning to end, but it also dropped some pearls of wisdom about enjoying the little things and redefining failure. I think everybody who tries to pursue their dreams should watch this movie, just to see a realistic depiction of the struggles involved in taking charge of your own life. Plus, the ending is unbelievably funny, and takes so many justified shots at child pageant life. What a gem.