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The Brighton has a traumatic drama in the breast of their family: the twenty years old Emily Brighton is intellectually disabled due to a fall when she was one, and her overprotective ... See full summary »
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Robert J. Siegel
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Penelope Ann Miller,
Lauren Ambrose Is Wonderful In A Very Sad & Very Sombre Movie
For the most part (and, honestly, with very few emotionally redeeming qualities) this is a dismally sombre and even sad film. It's not a bad film. It's just dreadfully sad. I have to admit that I haven't seen very much of Lauren Ambrose since the end of "Six Feet Under." One thing I learned from "About Sunny" is that she's most definitely grown up. She put on a very powerful performance in this, as single mother Angela, struggling to make ends meet - and generally not succeeding very well - as she seeks to raise her daughter Sunny (played by a young actress named Audrey P. Scott.) This is a desperate situation. It's a classic example of being caught between a rock and a hard place. Angela has a job, but it doesn't pay well. Sunny has a learning disability (dyslexia?) but Angela has no resources to help her with it. She has to take a second job at night, meaning she leaves Sunny alone a lot. She's not getting child support from Sunny's father, she makes dreadful decisions as she becomes more and more desperate. The whole movie (which starts out on a pretty down note) just seems to be a downward spiral. The question is: downward from what? How much lower could it go?
I don't need to go into a lot of details, except to say that - again - this is a sombre and very sad movie. For most of its run time it doesn't really seem to be going anywhere, other than documenting Angela's struggles, but in the end Angela is faced with a gut-wrenching ethical dilemma. Without saying what it is, I'd say that as a viewer you're torn at the end. I think she made the right choice, but what does the future hold for her and Sunny? How will it get any better? Or are these two just on a one way trip to nowhere.
But - sadness aside - this is a good movie. Ambrose's performance is powerful and she draws you into Angela's life. You feel sorry for her. Perhaps none of this desperation is her fault, and you know that she wants to be a good mother to Sunny. Even when she lashes out, you know that it's out of frustration, and not because of any lack of love for her daughter.
With an interesting lead character, and a good performance form Lauren Ambrose in the role, this is definitely worth watching. It's just not a movie you'd want to watch on a day when you need a pick-me-up! (7/10)
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