6.8/10
69,111
144 user 179 critic

Sunshine Cleaning (2008)

R | | Comedy, Drama | 17 April 2009 (USA)
Trailer
2:33 | Trailer
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.

Director:

Christine Jeffs

Writer:

Megan Holley
2 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Amy Adams ... Rose
Emily Blunt ... Norah
Alan Arkin ... Joe
Jason Spevack ... Oscar
Steve Zahn ... Mac
Mary Lynn Rajskub ... Lynn
Clifton Collins Jr. ... Winston
Eric Christian Olsen ... Randy
Paul Dooley ... Sherm
Kevin Chapman ... Carl
Judith Jones Judith Jones ... Paula Datzman-Mead
Amy Redford ... Heather
Christopher Dempsey ... Gun Shop Suicide
Vic Browder ... Gun Shop Owner
Ivan Brutsche Ivan Brutsche ... Above and Beyond Worker
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Storyline

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

Taglines:

life's a messy business.

Genres:

Comedy | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

This is the second of two movies Alan Arkin starred in with the word "Sunshine" in the title. The first was "Little Miss Sunshine (2006)". See more »

Goofs

When Norah chases after the kitten, there is a small table and a cat statue on the porch. Later, when the house is burning at night, the table and statue are gone. A subsequent scene of the porch in flames has the table and cat statue back again. See more »

Quotes

[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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Alternate Versions

Amy Adams brief topless scene has been censored in the US home video releases. Those frames are zoomed in slightly to omit the nudity where as the framing is left intact on releases outside of the US. See more »


Soundtracks

Girl from Ypsilanti
Written and Performed by Daniel May
Courtesy of Marc Ferrari/MasterSource
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User Reviews

 
Adams and Blunt are remarkable
27 July 2009 | by Simon_Says_MoviesSee all my reviews

Of late, independent films seem to fall into three ruts; the quirky indie film, the contrived indie film and the quirkily contrived indie film. Thankfully, for the most part, Sunshine Cleaning manages to avoid these associated pitfalls, and is instead a benchmark for how two sensational performances can succeed in drastically improving the quality of a film.

These aforementioned indie clichés are quite the conundrum when looked at thoughtfully. The birth of independent film-making stemmed from creativity and desire to be liberated from the shadow of the major movie conglomerates. Yet now, most of these offbeat flicks are as cold and calculated as any big budget summer movie and often drown in wacky plots and bizarre characters which are not of what free film should be an expression.

Starring the consistently stellar and always delightful leading ladies of Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, Sunshine Cleaning tells the bittersweet story of two sisters (Adams and Blunt) and their struggles to purge the horror of their mother's suicide and live normal lives. Adams as Rose and Blunt as Norah are polar opposites; Rose was the head cheerleader in high school and aches to regain that notoriety in her adult life and Norah the 'screw-up', the black sheep of the family. They are held together loosely by Rose's son Oscar and their father (Alan Arkin) that is until they find themselves in need of work. Through a less than professional police connection of Rose's (Steve Zahn) they come to start a crime scene cleanup service called Sunshine Cleaning and while they sought money, they ended up finding something more profound.

Adams and Blunt truly are remarkable and give bonafide Oscar worthy performances. Their characters never fall to any deprecating indie quirks, and are fully realized individuals. Zahn is solid in a smaller role, as is Clifton Collins Jr. as a clean-up store owner and all lend to a story that did not by any means conclude where I was suspecting. Many of the subplots are left open, but not in a unsatisfying way and while featuring ups and downs along the way, Sunshine Cleaning manages to find a hopeful tone without being sticky sweet. Perhaps by favourite aspect outside of the performances was Adam's character. We have seen in many films the former cheerleader who has grown up under the shadow of the 'losers' of their school, but never have I seen such an honest look from the view of the former. Perhaps this is a testament to Adams acting skills, but I was impressed nevertheless.

Sunshine Cleaning keeps you involved based on characters alone. There is certainly humour, tragedy and emotion to drive the story but all is born from the relationship between this broken family. I wish fresh faced director Christine Jeffs had forgone all the trends of the recent independent film movement, but there is still more then enough to admire about Sunshine Cleaning, and even more to love.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

17 April 2009 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Sunshine Cleaning See more »

Filming Locations:

New Mexico, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$8,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$219,190, 15 March 2009

Gross USA:

$12,062,558

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$16,580,250
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
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