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Sunshine Cleaning (2008)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama  |  17 April 2009 (USA)
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Ratings: 6.9/10 from 59,428 users   Metascore: 61/100
Reviews: 133 user | 193 critic | 32 from Metacritic.com

In order to raise the tuition to send her young son to private school, a mom starts an unusual business -- a biohazard removal/crime scene clean-up service -- with her unreliable sister.



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gun Shop Suicide
Gun Shop Owner
Ivan Brutsche ...
Above and Beyond Worker


A family. Rose and Norah, in Albuquerque, lost their mother when they were young. Rose is responsible - a housecleaner, raising her seven-year-old son Oscar. She's also having an affair with Mac, a married cop, her high-school sweetheart. Norah can't hold a job. Their dad, Joe, is quirky. When Oscar is expelled for odd behavior, Rose wants to earn enough to send him to private school. Mac suggests she clean up after crime scenes, suicides, and deaths that go undiscovered for awhile. Rose enlists Norah, and Sunshine Cleaners is born. Norah bonds with the dead, Rose finds out that it's a regulated business, and complications arise. Can a family marked by tragedy sort things out? Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


life's a messy business.


Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, disturbing images, some sexuality and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






Release Date:

17 April 2009 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Günisigi temizleme sirketi  »

Filming Locations:

Box Office


$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

$219,190 (USA) (13 March 2009)


$12,055,108 (USA) (3 July 2009)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

| |


Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The filmmakers have said in interviews their story is based on a 2001 National Public Radio "All Things Considered" report about two women in the Seattle suburbs who started a biohazard removal/cleaning service. They are best friends, not sisters. See more »


In the scene where Norah and Lynn are at the party, Norah passes the joint to a guy next to Lynn. She does not get it back, but she can be seen smoking it in the following shots. See more »


[first lines]
Talking Deer Head: Attention all fellow deer. If you find deer feed in the middle of the forest, be a bit suspicious.
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Modestra Ayala
Performed by Los Cadetes de Alfredo Guerrero / "La Leyenda" de Lineares
Written by Chavez Gonzalez Jose Edwiges
Courtesy of Feria Del Disco
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

Sunshine Cleaning Movie Review from The Massie Twins
12 March 2009 | by (www.GoneWithTheTwins.com) – See all my reviews

Oddly whimsical for a dark foray into the humorous side of crime-scene clean-up, Sunshine Cleaning amusingly examines the lives of two sisters who attempt to mend the hurt in their personal lives while mopping up the dismal outcomes of others' failed resolutions. Contrasting the sisters' troubles and reconciliation over their mother's tragic death with their desire to find a connection within the "clients" of their peculiar profession, the film succeeds in presenting an engagingly naturalistic drama primarily thanks to some enchanting acting from Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, and the always scene-stealing Alan Arkin channeling his performance from another "Sunshine." Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) finds herself a single mother attempting to support her son Oscar (Jason Spevack) and her unreliable sister Norah (Emily Blunt) while working a mundane job as a maid. Once the head cheerleader in school with plenty of prospects, Rose now has little to show for her years, and while she still sees the former lead football player (Steve Zahn), it is little more than a despondent affair. When Oscar is expelled from public school, Rose takes a job as a bio-hazard crime-scene cleaner to help pay for a private education, and brings Norah on to help in her steadily growing business. As the sisters work to clean up the messes left behind by the chaotic lives of others, they must learn to reconcile their own differences and overcome a troubled past if they hope to prosper in their newfound venture.

Sunshine Cleaning is a deceptively simple slice-of-dysfunctional-life comedy that follows a pattern reminiscent of Five Easy Pieces mixed with Little Miss Sunshine. The characters themselves embody various stereotypes of maladjusted individuals, each graced with enough redeeming qualities that they're relatable instead of contemptible - which is often the opposite in painfully dark comedies. Occasionally the film delves into disturbing complications that seem oddly superfluous, but adds depth to the subplots - reflecting the messiness of life, in the anatomy of a metaphorical crime scene waiting to be cleaned up.

Once again Amy Adams' performance is teary-eyed and sensational, demonstrating her maturity, acting chops and surprising range of emotions that don't seem initially possible with her pleasantly youthful face. Supporting roles by Emily Blunt and Alan Arkin are also noteworthy; Norah creates the missing piece to Rose's overwhelming feelings of responsibility, and their father steals the show with alternating comic relief and desperation for making ends meet. Their performances are genuine and affecting and bring light to a story that is realistically melancholy but unquestionably entertaining.

  • The Massie Twins

34 of 53 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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