Little Miss Sunshine
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A Note Regarding Spoilers

The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.

For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Little Miss Sunshine can be found here.

When 7-year old Olive Hoover (Abigail Breslin), runnerup in the Florida state Little Miss Sunshine beauty contest, learns that she has won the title due to a default by the winner, suddenly making her eligible for the national contest being held in Redondo Beach, California, her family -- father Richard (Greg Kinnear), mother Sheryl (Toni Collette), grandpa Edwin (Alan Arkin), half-brother Dwayne (Paul Dano), and Uncle Frank (Steve Carell) -- decides to make the trip from Albuquerque, New Mexico to California in their old, yellow Volkswagen T2 Microbus in order to fulfill Olive's greatest wish in life.

No. Little Miss Sunshine is based on a screenplay by American screenwriter Michael Arndt. Interestingly, Arndt was fired because Focus Feature wanted to change the script, but he was rehired four weeks later after the new writer quit. Arndt went on to win the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay for Little Miss Sunshine at the 79th Annual Academy Awards.

Dwayne's yellow T-Shirt said "Jesus Was Wrong." It is a reference to Dwayne's liking for Friedrich Nietzsche, a German philosopher most associated with his views on existential nihilism. One of Nietzsche's tenets was that Jesus was wrong when he said that he was the son of God.

Who is Marcel Proust?

Uncle Frank was considered to be the foremost scholar of the French novelist Marcel Proust [1871-1922]. Proust is best known for his seven-volume novel la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time a.k.a. Remembrance of Things Past), published between 1913 and 1927. It is viewed as one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century. In real life, the world's foremost Proust scholar is probably Jean-Yves Tadi (b. 1936).

What was Sheryl's dream?

Everyone in the movie seems to have a dream but, in the end, none of them come true. Sheryl's dream was for her family to be normal and for her husband not to be a failure.

How does the movie end?

The family makes it to the Redondo Beach Hotel at 3:03 PM, three minutes after the registration desk has closed for the Little Miss Sunshine contest. However, one of the employees kindly adds Olive to the list and allots her a number. As Olive gets into her costume and does her hair and makeup, Richard contacts a funeral home to collect his father's body, and the 12 semifinalists begin performing their talent acts. Afraid that Olive is going to be laughed at when compared to the other acts, Richard and Dwayne attempt to convince Sheryl to withdraw Olive from the competition, but Sheryl insists that they must let her do this because it is who she is. After she is led onstage, Olive dedicates her act to her grandfather "who taught me these moves," and the music begins. A few seconds into the act, it becomes readily apparent that Olive is performing a burlesque act, dancing suggestively and tearing off her clothes. People in the audience begin to walk out. The emcee attempts to get Olive off-stage, but Richard jumps onstage and tackles him. The pageant officials order him to get Olive offstage, but Richard joins Olive in her act. Frank jumps onstage, too, followed by Dwayne and Sheryl. They all dance with Olive until the end of the song. The police are called, but they release the family on the condition that they never enter Olive in another beauty pageant in the state of California. They agree, begin pushing their VW, and head for home.

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