Evelyn GoughIn the Picture

Little Miss Sunshine

Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

Rated M

If you were to ask me what was my favourite movie of the year I could now answer without a moments hesitation: Little Miss Sunshine!

This black comedy about a dysfunctional family travelling 700 miles in a broken down Kombi from Albuquerque to Redondo Beach, California, so that seven-year-old Olive (a stunning performance from Abigail Breslin) can appear in the Little Miss Sunshine pageant is an absolute gem. I havent laughed so much in ages. This is the funniest film Ive seen all year, if not longer!

Admittedly I do like my comedies black. My second favourite film of all time is Harold and Maude and Little Miss Sunshine is definitely on the dark side.

The Hoovers are your typical American family. Dad (Greg Kinnear) is a motivational speaker with a nine-step program guaranteed to turn you from a loser into a winner; Mum (Toni Collette) is the family bread-winner; Grandpa (Alan Arkin) has started snorting heroin; and Olives uncle (Steve Carell) has just tried to kill himself. Meanwhile, her 15-year-old brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), whose dream it is to be a jet pilot, has taken a vow of silence and hasnt spoken for nine months. And all Olive wants is to be able to perform the dance routine that she and her grandfather have been working on for months at the Little Miss Sunshine pageant. Only problem is the pageants on the very next weekend and the whole family cant afford air tickets. That means one thing: family road trip!

And is the Little Miss Sunshine pageant ready for Olives talent routine?

Like all the best and most endearing black comedies Little Miss Sunshine will have you in tears of laughter one moment and crying real tears the next. It deals with the heartbreaks, crushed dreams and all the bizarre situations life throws at families, as well as the triumphs.

Its films like Little Miss Sunshine that let you forgive Hollywood for all the mass produced rubbish it churns out because occasionally it produces a masterpiece like this.

I cant recommend Little Miss Sunshine more highly. It wont be to everyones taste but I loved it!

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