Rose (Amy Adams) is a single mum who works as a cleaning lady. When her lover Mac (Steve Zahn), a policeman, tells her about the money that’s in crime scene clean-ups, Rose convinces her sister Norah (Emily Blunt) that this would be the perfect opportunity to make some money. Leaving her son in the care of her father (Alan Arkin), who is a freelance salesman, Rose and Norah get to it – with the help of cleaning supplies shop owner Winston (Clifton Collins Jr.).
Sunshine Cleaning is a really sweet comedy with great characters (and with some dark bits) . It’s one of those movies that got no marketing to speak of and it really didn’t deserve it. If you happen to catch it (and you should try to) you get a wonderful story about two sisters finding their place in life.
The performances were all terrific – I honestly couldn’t pick a favourite, even if I had to. And not only the big names where you expect good performances, but also the supporting cast like Clifton Collins Jr. and Mary Lynn Rajskub.
But I think the best thing about this film was the script by Megan Holley – it tells the story of people who don’t have it that easy in their lives, they struggle and they have to fight for their existence, sometimes with each other. But the script does so with the utmost respect. It never gets condescending or tear-jerker-y. Instead it uses the approach to find the things that keep everybody going and focusses on that. And very successfully. [And to think that it was Holley's first script... Great things to come, for sure!]
Sunshine Cleaning feels incredibly lighthearted, though it touches on a lot of subjects that are not, dysfunctional families being one of them, death another. In all of this it chooses a sensitive but ultimately realistic world view.
Plus it has a very nice soundtrack.
Summarising: don’t let the lack of marketing fool you. This movie is definitely worth seeing.