Critic Reviews



Based on 19 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
The Hollywood Reporter
Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon bring impressive emotional and physical heat to Sunlight Jr., director/screenwriter Laurie Collyer’s beautifully observed character study of an unmarried couple living on the economic margins.
Incandescent performances by Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon and an unerring grasp of strip-mall-dominated Florida distinguish Sunlight Jr.
Village Voice
Collyer has a keen eye for underrepresented populations, but she'd be better served in the future to scale back on the overstatement.
Unflinchingly honest and grim, Sunlight Jr. is a valuable piece of work from a filmmaker who has a distinctive voice and concerns.
Slant Magazine
An admirable refusal to adhere to any overexposed poverty-porn templates, however, is taken a little too far in the opposite direction, to the point that the film feels self-consciously shapeless.
Try as she might, Collyer cannot help but judge these people, a not-quite-fatal flaw in a movie about the down and out.
The Dissolve
As Collyer risks caricature—if a caricature of Florida is even possible at this point—Watts and Dillon ease Sunlight Jr. back to more grounded, fundamental truths.
Sunlight Jr. is one no-hope bummer after another, and it’s just not psychologically or sociologically acute enough to make the experience worthwhile. Watching anyone over 30 working for minimum wage would achieve the same goal in about 15 minutes.
The realism is honorable, the acting is exemplary, and all do good work, but life among the unlucky and disenfranchised who exist without hope is not a subject that will put a glow in your heart or a smile on your face. Be forewarned: The depression is inescapable.
The one real takeaway here is not that things are tough all over, or that movie stars equate slumming with authenticity; it’s that no actor should be asked to do a sexy dance to Crazy Town’s “Butterfly.” Ever.

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