Little Miss Sunshine
Autumn 2006 Main series
Sunday, December 10, 2006 at 4:00pm
Sunday, December 10, 2006 at 7:00pm
Monday, December 11, 2006 at 7:00pm
Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris
Starring Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell
Rated NR ·
Little Miss Sunshine is an American family road comedy that shatters the mold. Brazenly satirical and yet deeply human, the film introduces audiences to one of the most endearingly fractured families in recent cinema history: the Hoovers, whose trip to a pre-pubescent beauty pageant results not only in comic mayhem but in death, transformation and a moving look at the surprising rewards of being losers in a winning-crazed culture. A runaway hit at the Sundance Film Festival, where it played to standing ovations, the film strikes a nerve with everyone who’s ever been awestruck by how their muddled families seem to make it after all.
No one among the Hoovers quite has it together, but it’s not for lack of trying. Father Richard (Greg Kinnear, Nurse Betty), a hopelessly optimistic motivational speaker, is desperately attempting to sell his 9-step program for success — without much success. Meanwhile, the Hoovers’ “pro-honesty” mother Sheryl (Toni Collette, The Hours) is constantly harried by her family’s eccentric secrets, especially those of her brother (Steve Carell, The Daily Show), a suicidal Proust scholar fresh out of the hospital after being jilted by his gay lover. Then there are the younger Hoovers with their unlikely dreams — the four-eyed, slightly plump, seven year-old would-be beauty queen Olive (Abigail Breslin, Signs) and Dwayne (Paul Dano, The Ballad of Jack and Rose), an anger-fueled, Nietzsche-reading teen who has taken a staunch vow of silence until he gets into the Air Force Academy. Topping off the family is the grandfather (Alan Arkin, Catch-22), a foul-mouthed pleasure-seeker recently kicked out of his retirement home for snorting heroin.
They might not be the picture of perfect mental health, but when a fluke gets Olive invited to compete in the fiercely competitive Little Miss Sunshine competition in California, the whole Hoover family rallies behind her. They pile into their rusted-out VW bus and head West on a three-day tragicomic journey filled with madcap surprises and leading up to Olive’s big debut — which will change the entire misfit family in ways they could never imagine.