Sunshine State (2002)

PG-13  |   |  Drama, Romance  |  12 July 2002 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 3,418 users   Metascore: 69/100
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A woman and her new husband returns to her hometown roots in coastal northern Florida, and must deal with family, business, and encroaching real estate development.



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7 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Alex Lewis ...
Eliot Asinof ...
Amanda Wing ...
Kyle Meenan ...


Real estate developers descend upon a sleepy coastal Florida community with the promise of big money and bigger changes. Torn between honoring family obligations and the lure of quick cash, the locals greet the outsiders with a wildly mixed reception. Marly Temple is eager to give in and sell the family business to start over. As caretaker of her father's motel and restaurant, she's grown resentful of missed opportunities. However, she finds a glimmer of hope in a tentative romance with a visiting landscape architect. Desiree Perry left town years ago to escape a scandal and make a name for herself as an actress. Reluctantly returning home, she finds her strong-willed mother unwilling to let go of the past. Written by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Take a vacation with JOHN SAYLES See more »


Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for brief strong language, a sexual reference and thematic elements | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:





Release Date:

12 July 2002 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

A Terra do Sol  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office


$5,600,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$93,072 (USA) (21 June 2002)


$3,064,356 (USA) (15 November 2002)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


John Sayles:  almost gets hit by the golf ball in the closing scene. See more »


During the conversation between Desiree and her mother on the beach, the door to the house is suddenly closed, though there is no evidence of anyone having closed it and it makes no sound. See more »


Marly Temple: The important thing is to keep that smile on your face, even when you're drowning.
See more »


Referenced in Hey Arnold! The Movie (2002) See more »


Buccaneer March
Music by Mason Daring
Performed by the Lexington Mass. Marching Band, Director Jeffrey Leonard
Courtesy of Daring Music
See more »

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User Reviews

The heat in the Sunshine State.
22 June 2002 | by (New York) – See all my reviews

John Sayles' films are always interesting. He provokes his audiences to think about what he shows on the screen. This is his latest attempt to draw our attention to the perils of overdevelopment in Florida by unscrupulous people who have nothing invested in the areas where they go to disrupt the lives of different communities, like the one presented in the film. Unfortunately, nothing changes for the better. In many cases it only brings unwanted growth, crime, tackiness in the name of progress. There are very old towns in the Sunshine State that are targeted to be sold by the locals in power as it's the case with the fictional Delrona Beach who, no doubt, are in cahoots with the developers. We can't help but wonder why would anyone in the right mind would go along with those who want to transform these laid back little towns on both Florida coasts and change them into the boring gated communities and condos that dot the landscape. The Greek Chorus led by Alan King and cronies are incredibly on target. They couldn't care less what was there before as long as they can golf every day in the immaculate courses created for their pleasure. Edie Falco is a revelation in this film. She's the one that goes in and out of the different groups with a sense of belonging to the town, obviously not making a very lucrative living out of a beach motel that has seen better days. Even though she has left the town for her own reasons she has come back to run the family business. Angela Bassett is the prodigal daughter who comes back to face her past and have a confrontation with her mother. Mary Alice plays her role of the mother with such dignity that we see right through this mother the hurt and disappointment her daughter has caused in her life. It's a joy to see both of these actresses play their parts in such a restrained manner. There are no hysterics between them, just the bitterness caused by events fate has dealt them. The rest of the cast is wonderful. Mary Steenburgen, Ralph Waite, Jane Alexander, Bill Cobbs are all perfectly cast for their roles. Again, Mr. Sayles has given us a slice of life, and in doing so, he has tackled the task with great panache.

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