User Score
7.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 541 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Negative: 89 out of 541
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  1. Sam
    Sep 7, 2006
    10
    One of the best movies I've seen in years. It's a perfect and satisfying blend of bittersweet plot and stinging social commentary. Wonderful performances by everybody, especially Carell.
  2. SherylG.
    Aug 20, 2006
    10
    Loved this film, laughed out loud for the first time in ages in a theater. Steve carell was at his best comic (and understated self). also loved the young actress who played Olive, unaffected charming young child actress.
  3. PaulKane
    Jul 20, 2006
    10
    By far, the best drama/comedy I have seen this year. Everything about this was near perfect: the casting, the acting, the character arcs, the storyline, and even the score/soundtrack. I couldn't stop laughing throughout the entire movie. If you have an interest in this, you MUST see it in the theater.
  4. LindaD.
    Aug 12, 2006
    10
    This movie is a wonderful grin! If you need one, go see it. Couldn't find one thing wrong with it.
  5. J.W.
    Sep 15, 2006
    10
    This family puts the fun in dysfunctional. Creative, out of the box, and unexpected turns in this movie had us laughing so hard we cried.
  6. NatalieP.
    Sep 2, 2006
    10
    hyseterical and heartbreaking at the same time. The performances are pricless.
  7. BM.
    Oct 2, 2007
    10
    What a refreshing burst of fresh air in the comedy/drama genre. There is not a moment in this movie where the comedy seems forced or the acting overdone. Every ridiculously funny part of this movie is completely believable. Even the script is written and delivered in that rough unpolished way that makes you think these are 'real' people and we are a fly on the wall in there What a refreshing burst of fresh air in the comedy/drama genre. There is not a moment in this movie where the comedy seems forced or the acting overdone. Every ridiculously funny part of this movie is completely believable. Even the script is written and delivered in that rough unpolished way that makes you think these are 'real' people and we are a fly on the wall in there insane lives. Everyone involved in this movie deserves a very big pat on the back. We need more real comedies like this. Expand
  8. CarolynS.
    Jan 8, 2007
    10
    Great movie from start to finish. This had me laughing one minute to holding back tears the next. Well-written & acted, I hope this movie gets nominations in every category. A++ all around. Abigail did a wonderful job in this film.
  9. DaveP.
    Dec 7, 2006
    10
    Drawn from the same font as Sideways, full of dark humour, revelation, flaw and sunshine. I did not expect to be so drawn in, and the time flew so quickly I had to double-check the time when it finished. And yes, one of the most memorable and 'funny' climaxes ever filmed.
  10. Fresh
    Aug 10, 2006
    10
    Best movie I have seen in a few years.
  11. ColinM.
    Aug 12, 2006
    10
    A funny, bittersweet piece with an outstanding ensemble. Extremely enjoyable and quite possibly the best film of 2006. Plenty of hilarious moments right alongside heartfelt family emotions. Highly recommended movie.
  12. DavidK.
    Aug 14, 2006
    10
    Without question the best movie I have seen in 2006.
  13. Jennie
    Aug 14, 2006
    10
    Great little pic. Recognizable disfunctional family members with characters that will stay with you and ring true. Not a side splitting laugh riot a minute... that's not what it's about. But it is funny, witty and poignant... in a Capraesque sort of way. Fantastic casting! Kudos to all!
  14. DaleM.
    Aug 20, 2006
    10
    This movie made me laugh so hard that my sides ached. On top of that, it had something to say about what it really means to be a winner. This movie is a winner!
  15. JaclynW.
    Aug 23, 2006
    10
    This movie was an extremely good movie. It was a wonderful satirical movie. It was filled with touching moments, hilarious moments, and even sad moments. This movie is a must see!
  16. AdrianG.
    Sep 30, 2006
    10
    I love this movie because how raw and real it is.
  17. Nik
    Sep 5, 2006
    10
    MOST PHENOMENAL MOVIE i have seen in a LONG time. I have not laughed so out loud in a theater until i saw this movie. it is so great because its got such great character development and you connect with all of them. i think this movie deserves ALOT of credit for doing something genuine and unique.
  18. JohnnyC.
    Jan 10, 2007
    10
    Over-hyped but still an amazing film!
  19. Matt
    Jan 2, 2007
    10
    Best movie of the year and one of my new favorites. It's almost a quest story really, involving a trouble-plagued journy and each character facing their own demons.
  20. Nadie
    Feb 11, 2007
    10
    Americans doing what they do best, laughing at themselves. Simple and well acted, this movie reminds us that you can find beauty in low budget films.
  21. AshleyRussell
    Feb 3, 2007
    10
    Great movie
  22. JimmyH.
    Feb 6, 2007
    10
    Loved the movie. It captures a certain feeling that is timely. I found it to be original and hilarious. Great cast. Each member had an endearing quality (even grandpa!). Frankly I don't understand all of the zeros being given to this movie. I don't know what people expect from a good film. Maybe they're more into your Armageddon-type movie. Who knows. Well to each his own, Loved the movie. It captures a certain feeling that is timely. I found it to be original and hilarious. Great cast. Each member had an endearing quality (even grandpa!). Frankly I don't understand all of the zeros being given to this movie. I don't know what people expect from a good film. Maybe they're more into your Armageddon-type movie. Who knows. Well to each his own, but I loved this flick. Expand
  23. Jaimep
    Jul 10, 2007
    10
    Um good job jess calling a little kid fat. your real nice. i thought this movie was awesome. i believe the people who are looking for genius in the camera or technical things are missing out on why this movie is so great. it gives you a feeling of happiness. isn't that what movie are about? how they make you feel when you stop watching them. I loved it and i think the characters Um good job jess calling a little kid fat. your real nice. i thought this movie was awesome. i believe the people who are looking for genius in the camera or technical things are missing out on why this movie is so great. it gives you a feeling of happiness. isn't that what movie are about? how they make you feel when you stop watching them. I loved it and i think the characters were amazing. Expand
  24. OpalJ.
    Apr 20, 2008
    10
    This is my all-time favorite movie. The acting is great, the storyline is touching and hilarious, and the characters are hilarious though realistic. Yes, you might not find a family like this in the real world, but it's a MOVIE. And a great one at that.
  25. JoshP.
    May 26, 2008
    10
    This film captures everything a family's about. Dysfunctional and sometimes very strange but always honest. I feel sorry for you if you can't enjoy this film, it's the best light hearted comedy I've seen in years. Especially since it came out of America.
  26. BenjaminE.
    Nov 30, 2006
    10
    This movie was not a diapointment, the most fun i have had at a movie theater for some time.
  27. AlexM
    Oct 17, 2006
    10
    One of the best movies I've seen this year! Love it!
  28. JoyceF.
    Aug 13, 2006
    10
    The best movie I've seen in quite a while. Great acting on all parts. It's been a long time since I've seen an audience appluad at the end of the movie. I still can't stop talking about it.
  29. MattS.
    Aug 13, 2006
    10
    Undoubtedly the best movie I have seen this slow summer movie season. LMS is a hilarious, heartwarming and genuine comedy that is neither pretentious nor contrived. The development of not only the characters themsevles, but also their relationships with one another is simply wonderful to witness and a worthwhile endeavor in these last days of summer. A must see.
  30. RoseAnneS.
    Aug 14, 2006
    10
    You won't find a better comedy this summer, or this year, for that matter. The comedy will bring tears to your eyes and aches to your sides. You won't look at family travel the same, much less Rick James' "Kinky Girl." A must see!
  31. Lucy
    Aug 17, 2006
    10
    The best movie I've seen in a very long time...and I'm QUITE a picky movie buff. Everything from the acting, storyline, twists, and lessons.....fabulous!
  32. KrisV.H.
    Aug 2, 2006
    10
    Excellent movie!
  33. Cables
    Aug 24, 2006
    10
    The bad scores seem to reflect on the fact that it's not a movie for kids. Maybe the people who voted based on that premise should have looked at the rating (R) before they took their kids to see it. This is the best American film you'll see all year, hands down. Don't miss this.
  34. JamesB.
    Aug 26, 2006
    10
    Exceptional. The best movie in years. Even the pace is good--starts a bit slow and picks up throughout.
  35. TimN.
    Aug 30, 2006
    10
    Amazing film. It was at the same time funny, sad, inspirational, and most importantly of all, optimistic, with a little bit of black humour in there... [***SPOILERS***] really good message from the film (life is what you make of it--treat it like crap, and you'll live it miserably...but favour what you have, and you'll be happy for the rest of your life, no matter WHAT comes Amazing film. It was at the same time funny, sad, inspirational, and most importantly of all, optimistic, with a little bit of black humour in there... [***SPOILERS***] really good message from the film (life is what you make of it--treat it like crap, and you'll live it miserably...but favour what you have, and you'll be happy for the rest of your life, no matter WHAT comes your way. Be carefree, and live life to its fullest.), and it's one of the only films where you truly feel optimistic and happy about your life to come. Also, the movie did a really good job of portraying how absolutely sick in the head America is when it comes to these child beauty pageants, and how they are totally pointless...I saw a show on it on A&E once, and I was shocked. I mean, the parents of these kids are literally insane when they do this, and it's putrid that they dress them up and make them do such things at such a young age. So, yeah...definitely the best film I've seen all year, besides Snakes on a Plane (they're two totally different films, so, you can't really compare them...). Oh, and a wonderful soundtrack to it. I must pick it up. Expand
  36. AmirHosseinS.
    Sep 28, 2006
    10
    This movie was definitely the best American comedy in many years.
  37. LindyV.
    Sep 29, 2006
    10
    Fantastic movie, makes you laugh, tear up, cringe and smile. Reminded me of my fun yet dysfunctional family.
  38. SharonSulvason
    Sep 7, 2006
    10
    Laughed out loud throughout the movie! Loved it!
  39. AaronL.
    Jan 23, 2007
    10
    Allan and Ethan have NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE TALKING ABOUT. This is a splendid dark comedy, whose characters offer endless smiles both through there words and actions. If you are looking for the 40 year old virgin, look else where. Yet, if you are looking for You, me, and everyone we know, you will enjoy this film.
  40. ReidF.
    Jan 27, 2007
    10
    Imagine a comedy in which each of the main characters has to confront losing his or her dream. Now, picture that comedy taking place mostly in a little yellow van that has a character all its own, and you have
  41. MathewH.
    Jan 30, 2007
    10
    I loved this movie. It's irreverence as survivability, sarcasm as honesty, with the quirks and spasms of a lifetime condensed into a few days journey. Believable? Nah. But why should anyone care. Take the ride. It's carnival faire to be sure. But a warning. If you take yourself or anyone or anything seriously, this isn't for you. Just read the negative reviews if you have I loved this movie. It's irreverence as survivability, sarcasm as honesty, with the quirks and spasms of a lifetime condensed into a few days journey. Believable? Nah. But why should anyone care. Take the ride. It's carnival faire to be sure. But a warning. If you take yourself or anyone or anything seriously, this isn't for you. Just read the negative reviews if you have any doubts. Expand
  42. Sophie
    Jul 31, 2007
    10
    Wonderful movie. I have never laughed so hard at an ending in my life :) This film gives you a warm fuzzy feeling in your stomach: it truly makes you happy inside, even though there are some moments which get you grabbing the tissues. Great humour.
  43. FloR.
    Jan 29, 2008
    10
    It was a great feel-good film that has that amazing indie-movie feeling.
  44. LisaFromAustralia
    Aug 8, 2008
    10
    I loved this movie. A simple message effectively delivered. If you like REAL families then you'll love these people.
  45. SHaneM
    Apr 17, 2009
    10
    Epic Film! Pretty funny considering the characters are all like sad!
  46. FrankS.
    Nov 29, 2006
    10
    This was a great movie that had it all - pathos, comedy - i thought alan arkin was great - here's a father who suddenly - after all his toughness- puts his arm around his son - who's a loser - and encourages him - great writing a movie not to be missed - best I've seen all year
  47. AndreaB
    Oct 13, 2006
    10
    Fantastic - everything a comedy should be and more.
  48. AnonymousMC
    Dec 23, 2006
    10
    I am pissed, and its not because the movie is bad. The movie is great. The movie is one of the most enjoyable movies ever made, and definately the most enjoyable in the past 5 years. I am pissed because of all the bad reviews people give this. My god! I watched this with my entire family. We all loved it except for my movie critiquing brother who always has a tendancy to judge movies andI am pissed, and its not because the movie is bad. The movie is great. The movie is one of the most enjoyable movies ever made, and definately the most enjoyable in the past 5 years. I am pissed because of all the bad reviews people give this. My god! I watched this with my entire family. We all loved it except for my movie critiquing brother who always has a tendancy to judge movies and games in his first five minutes and keep his opinion no matter what. He was the only one in my entire EXTENDED family who didn't love it. Everyone who hates it is too busy finding ways to hate it, and concocting half-brained similarities to other movies to actually enjoy it. The entire point of movies is enjoyment, and thats what this wonderfully cast {aspecially Steve Carrel}, hilarious satirical comedy that doesn't hit you over the head, and quirky writing and scenes {I loved the entire beuty pagent part} bring. I mean, my God. If you don't enjoy this movie, or at least give it a five, you have something wrong with your personality. Expand
  49. HollyC.
    Dec 24, 2006
    10
    I'm a total film buff and I thought this movie might be overhyped, but it really blew away any expectations I had. The writing/screenplay was excellent and worked on so many levels. The cast was also outstanding--every single character was wonderfully written and acted. Steve Carrell is turning into quite the actor whether it's comedy or not. Little Miss Sunshine could easily I'm a total film buff and I thought this movie might be overhyped, but it really blew away any expectations I had. The writing/screenplay was excellent and worked on so many levels. The cast was also outstanding--every single character was wonderfully written and acted. Steve Carrell is turning into quite the actor whether it's comedy or not. Little Miss Sunshine could easily win the Oscar this year and I definitely recommend it to anyone, though some language might be too much for the under 14 crowd. People that compare this to the Griswalds and National Lampoon Vacation movies are strange indeed. This isn't that sort of comedy at all--though it will make you laugh and maybe cry (at the same time). This is a character-driven 'real' movie (not really satire) and quite subtle in a lot of ways. Bravo to Mike Ardnt for writing such a wonderful little film. Expand
  50. AshleyRussell
    Jul 26, 2006
    10
    Great movie
  51. [Anonymous]
    Aug 12, 2006
    10
    This movie was amazing. I have not laughed this hard for a very long time.
  52. YaronS.
    Aug 12, 2006
    10
    Best film of the year so far.
  53. CarolF.
    Aug 21, 2006
    10
    Wonderful, touching, funny, great ensemble. Best movie this year. I loved all of the extremely fallible main characters in this movie.
  54. FrankieJ.
    Aug 25, 2006
    10
    Best Movie I've seen this year so far... Also the funniest. Definitely a must see.
  55. PaulF.
    Aug 26, 2006
    10
    Little Miss Sunshine was incredible. I laughed throughout the whole movie. It was so good the audience actually clapped in the end. The plot of the movie centers around a family caught in the cultural race to success but come to find their sincere selves throwing off a system of rules that has dysfunctions of its own. Now this is not a movie for young children as there are adult themes Little Miss Sunshine was incredible. I laughed throughout the whole movie. It was so good the audience actually clapped in the end. The plot of the movie centers around a family caught in the cultural race to success but come to find their sincere selves throwing off a system of rules that has dysfunctions of its own. Now this is not a movie for young children as there are adult themes and plenty of explicatives liberally sprinkled about. Don't blame the movie if you do not do your research first. Though this is not a movie for kids or prudes I found this movie to be rich in the existential issues that surround having to be alive in this world. I was prodded to think many times and I saw real spiritual change in the characters by the end of the movie. Little Miss Sunshine was no simple comedy, but had real heart. I cannot recommend this movie enough. If you like to laugh, be provoked to think, as well as to identify with something most people in this culture have to face, then this movie is for you. Expand
  56. JayK.
    Aug 27, 2006
    10
    Great characters,great acting (can Alan Arkin get any better?) and a very funny story. I want to see it again. Much better that most of the crap that came out this summer.
  57. JimC.
    Aug 31, 2006
    10
    Little Miss Sunshine has got to be the best movie in decades. A true masterpiece in casting, acting, and cinematography. The Hoover family is THE true American family- definately far from perfect. But that is what makes them and families like them, realistic. I can't think of any other movie that portrays what a real family is, except National Lampoon's Vacation and Christmas Little Miss Sunshine has got to be the best movie in decades. A true masterpiece in casting, acting, and cinematography. The Hoover family is THE true American family- definately far from perfect. But that is what makes them and families like them, realistic. I can't think of any other movie that portrays what a real family is, except National Lampoon's Vacation and Christmas Vacation. (Europeon and Vegas don't count) It's going to be tough to top Little Miss Sunshine for best movie of 2006. Stop reading these reviews and go see it! Expand
  58. MartinaD.
    Sep 14, 2006
    10
    Unbelievable film. So smart, and capable of eliciting so many different emotions.
  59. KamboL.
    Sep 19, 2006
    10
    Funniest movie ever! Giggle
  60. CarlinhosB.
    Sep 22, 2006
    10
    Smart, minimalist, AMAZING screenplay, get ready for the OSCARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It
  61. Naomi
    Sep 22, 2006
    10
    I loved this movie. It reminded me that we all fall apart sometimes. I loved, loved, LOVED Olive! Yay, give the best actress Oscar to Abigail Breslin, not Dame Helen Mirren!!
  62. Khoa
    Sep 28, 2006
    10
    One of the best movies I've seen
  63. JoshB.
    Jan 12, 2007
    10
    One of my favorite films of all time. Hilarious, laugh-out-loud funny movie (for people who don't take themselves so seriously). Also heart-warming and touching. Overall, a very satisfying experience at the movies in 2006 that can't be topped.
  64. SheriK.
    Jan 19, 2007
    10
    Quirkiest dark comedy I have seen in years. Never realized a disfunctional family could be so hilarious. Must see.
  65. CharlesV.
    Apr 25, 2007
    10
    Perfect balance of insight, character and humor.
  66. AlfyT.
    Apr 29, 2008
    10
    Wonderful film and good film. I have not seen film like this. I liked Olive very much.
  67. Aug 23, 2010
    10
    At heart of such a familiar story are characters that shine above their own archetypal conception. The progression of the narrative is fluid enough, but the performances ensure the films distinction. The characters would not be believable, or nearly as compelling, were it not for their unwitting dependence on one another. The family is mutually deceiving, but each with the best ofAt heart of such a familiar story are characters that shine above their own archetypal conception. The progression of the narrative is fluid enough, but the performances ensure the films distinction. The characters would not be believable, or nearly as compelling, were it not for their unwitting dependence on one another. The family is mutually deceiving, but each with the best of intentions. Road trip films are nearly classified as there own genre with such a distinctive structure and pay off. Comedian, Mitch Hedberg said, Im sick of following my dreams. I am just going to ask where they are going and meet up with them later. In Little Miss Sunshine, dreams both guide and antagonize the six people trapped in the yellow VW bus.

    A lack of control haunts the actions of the family. In one of the more focused scenes in the film, the son Dwaye, played aptly by Paul Dano, acknowledges his own limitations with poignant vocalization. Dwayne craves autonomy more than any other in the film and is grounded by a new found genetic disadvantage. In attempting to blame his family, from afar, it only provokes his sister closer. She is unaffected by his sentiments because his true nature contrasts the outburst in her mind. It is her intimate knowledge of Dwayne that enables the film to move on.

    In this sense, the movie can be viewed as an interpersonal puzzle. Alone, each character is indistinguishable of something whole. It is only when pushing on together that they get anywhere. The goals of each individual become dwarfed by the sense of unity birthed from their 800 mile adventure. Significantly, it is young Olives naive hope to be Little Miss Sunshine that creates a consciously shared and cherished moment between all characters, dead and alive. Olives determination destroys her fathers notion of winners and losers. Surrounded by people in denial about themselves, Olive embraces the contradictions, consequently providing a metaphoric mirror for the rest.

    The film celebrates failure. Within the winning film, are desperate losers. Steve Carells, Uncle Frank, discusses the necessity of suffering. Being introduced to him after a failed suicide attempt, Franks words seem genuine despite their irony. The diverse talent of Carell is most acutely witnessed as he reacquaints himself with the family at the dinner table. The intrusion of Frank into his sisters family plays as a blessing in a family needing of fresh, albeit fatalistic, perspective.

    Little Miss Sunshine depicts family as an undefinable ideal. The movie grows much the way a family does; not often in expected directions, but forever adapting to inevitable change. It isnt until the family sees the path they have taken, before they realize they have a home to return.
    Expand
  68. Aug 17, 2013
    10
    It's not too often that family films tug so endlessly on the heart strings, or a film which offers real and genuinely funny moments, characters and adventures all on a road trip to the most unlikely of places for the most unlikely of people. The film is a true example of how it's the simple things which change the rules entirely, and Little Miss Sunshine offers a range of characters allIt's not too often that family films tug so endlessly on the heart strings, or a film which offers real and genuinely funny moments, characters and adventures all on a road trip to the most unlikely of places for the most unlikely of people. The film is a true example of how it's the simple things which change the rules entirely, and Little Miss Sunshine offers a range of characters all with different dreams, hopes and outlooks in life, and they all come from the same family.
    The comedy road trip is a cunning and daring attempt to break from the clutches of similar scenarios and situations, we have some of the most interesting characters to grace the screen who all embrace their part and set the standard, we have the mother, Sheryl (Toni Collette) who struggles to look after her two children and her depressed brother Frank (Steve Carell) who recently attempted to commit suicide, her work-oriented husband Richard (Greg Kinnear), a motivational speaker who simply cannot catch a break, Edwin, played by Alan Arkin, the sharp-tongued grandfather who is very close to one of the children, Olive (Abigail Breslin), who is the little girl with big dreams and who truly lights up the screen in every possible way. She has been accepted into a beauty pageant 800 miles away and the whole family reluctantly agree to take the trip to support the young girl.
    Paul Dano plays the other child, a 17 year old who broods and speaks very little during the film as he is having a vow of silence until he fulfils his dream of being a test pilot. Each member of the family have their own grievances which come into play as the film unfolds, and they realise just how much they need each other. The film holds many messages of family values but its underlying themes really hit home the most, it categorises everything in life into simple reactions from other people, preparation, dreams, routine and perseverance, but also despair. Its at these moments that realisation can hit, whether something may not be for you or if you simply don't fit in, its not down to anybody else to say otherwise, being yourself is the most important part and the point of it all.
    Much like the job of Richard, the film is subtle and light-hearted life lesson from the excellent writing of Michael Arndt, who holds the equally brilliant Toy Story 3 credit to his name, he manages to use various situations that can be summed up through equal means, Olive is the little girl who lets nothing get her down, and Abigail Breslin simply fits the role like a shoe. Steve Carell plays a character who has seen it all and simply isn't happy with it, and needs his dysfunctional family around him. Greg Kinnear delivers a riveting performance of a man who doesn't seem to pay close attention to his family, but this the exact reason why he struggles through, to support his family and not be seen as a failure. There to bring a realisitc approach to their situations is Alan Arkin, who tells it as it is and nothing more.
    A masterful yet subtle film that weaves in and out of every detail of a simple problem and lays it all out on the table to try and work out, with fantastic performances from each cast member who offer various explanations from their characters perspective that make this a must see show for a bit of comic relief and to get a lesson in being yourself.
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  69. Jul 8, 2012
    10
    Absolutely brilliant. These are the sort of films that should always be made, feel good and heart-warming. We start with a family torn apart but by the end, brought together by their daughter, Abigail Breslin. Breslin is brilliant at embodying the feeling of childhood and how at that age we all have a dream. Alan Arkin is even better, gibing a short but memorable performance as the heroineAbsolutely brilliant. These are the sort of films that should always be made, feel good and heart-warming. We start with a family torn apart but by the end, brought together by their daughter, Abigail Breslin. Breslin is brilliant at embodying the feeling of childhood and how at that age we all have a dream. Alan Arkin is even better, gibing a short but memorable performance as the heroine taking grandfather, every scene he steals with his kind but foul mouthed ways. Steve Carrell gives a performance also which should have given him an Oscar nod. But, the best part of this film is the script, not many films have a script that give a sense of realism and humour (the scenes where the family push the van our by far the best), and give a chance for all actors to shine. It is such a simplistic formula, but the writers take advantage by adding side stories and real depths to these characters so it feel like they themselves our telling the story as if we know them. The movie as a whole is superb with at the most one flaw, everything just seems to work perfectly and put all the good things you need in a film together what do you get? Little Miss Sunshine. Expand
  70. Mar 11, 2013
    10
    It provides some of thee best performances in film hiistory, Little Miss Sunshine is fun to watch not only as a crazy family comedy but also as a serious and thoughtful drama as well.
  71. Jul 7, 2013
    10
    The Hoovers have dreams. Dad Richard imagines himself becoming the next Tony Robbins. Mom Sheryl dreams of a big happy family. Grandpa wants to go out in a blaze of glory. Uncle Frank longs to be recognized as the nation's pre-eminent Proust scholar. Brother Dwayne wants to be a fighter pilot. And then there's Olive. The pudgy, bespectacled 7-year-old wants to be Miss America. Put all ofThe Hoovers have dreams. Dad Richard imagines himself becoming the next Tony Robbins. Mom Sheryl dreams of a big happy family. Grandpa wants to go out in a blaze of glory. Uncle Frank longs to be recognized as the nation's pre-eminent Proust scholar. Brother Dwayne wants to be a fighter pilot. And then there's Olive. The pudgy, bespectacled 7-year-old wants to be Miss America. Put all of these dreams in an old VW van and send them to Southern California for a beauty pageant, and you get Little Miss Sunshine. This is the first feature-length project for the husband and wife directorial duo of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, both highly respected for their work in the music video world. Perhaps nicknamed the "Little Movie That Could," Little Miss Sunshine took five years to make and, thanks to its warm reception at 2006's Sundance Film Festival, is finally seeing a U.S. release—albeit in limited theaters. As its Sundance pedigree might suggest, Little Miss Sunshine has an eccentric veneer, but don't let that fool you. The script is far more conventional than its indie pop soundtrack (DeVotchKa and Sufjan Stevens provide the highlights) would have you believe, right down to unfortunate blips on the narrative radar involving porn magazines and state troopers that could have come straight from Super Troopers and a moment of sibling bonding that's all but gift wrapped. This said, there is a zany ethos to Little Miss Sunshine that, despite its most clichéd moments, stokes a lovely poignancy in this look at family life and the capacity for hope in the face of absurdity and calamity. Much of the absurdity is provided by the Little Miss Sunshine contest—the attempt to get there and the pageant itself. The garish makeup and skimpy dresses on the pre-pubescent contestants is all the more jarring after spending much of the movie with the gawky Olive. Indeed, her presence at the pageant and her cringe-inducing "talent" are a sort of defacto exposé on the darkness that lies just beneath the sparkly sequins. Each of the family members is, in one way or another, grappling with darkness in their own lives. Indeed, the script does a commendable job of presenting distinct characters—each person a universe of motivations and morals unto themselves—instead of presenting them as one griping and moaning familial mass. As such, different viewers are likely to resonate with different characters. And yet, the bond forged by their proximity to each other—by the fact they're family—is undeniable. I don't think it's a coincidence that the broken down VW van eventually requires a group effort to get in gear. The cast is universally strong. Toni Collette doesn't seem to be physically capable of turning in a poor performance, as I have yet to see her do so since she burst onto the scene in 1994's critically acclaimed Muriel's Wedding. As a suicidal academic, Steve Carell proves his acting mettle extends far beyond his comedic turns in TV's "The Office" and last year's blockbuster The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Greg Kinnear, as Richard, uses his innate likeability to make even the most annoying of characters sympathetic. Thankfully, Richard's desperate need to be a winner is road kill on this trip. As is Grandpa. Alan Arkin's a dirty old man with a heart of gold (or at least silver). Expand
  72. Jul 27, 2013
    10
    Little Miss Sunshine, winner of the Sundance Film Festival in 2006, is a dark comedy about life, love, and finding purpose in life. It is delightfully simple, funny, and heartwarming. It will make you laugh, make you angry, and possibly cause you to shed a few tears. If you are into the indie genre Little Miss Sunshine is not only a must see, but a must purchase for your personal collection.
  73. Mar 29, 2014
    10
    This is a beautiful film. A lovely message, really inspiring. The acting is fantastic, unusually good for some young actors. Steve Carell gives an excellent performance, making me wish he was in more serious films. Fantastic film. Really.
  74. Jul 28, 2014
    10
    Although few realize, is a movie nothing obvious that uses metaphors to talk about life, the stereotype and conformism. Is much more than a story about winning or losing, is a story about living, try, fall, and after push our van to the right path. It's delicious, is complex and is unforgettable. A movie to never forget.
  75. AustinW.
    Aug 9, 2006
    9
    Really fantastic. Great performances, and some great laugh out loud moments. I understand the sitcom comparisons, but there's a subversive undertone that really makes it sing.
  76. JoeC.
    Sep 7, 2006
    9
    Believe the hype. My girlfriend and I haven't had this much fun at the movies in a long, long time.
  77. MichaelH.
    Feb 5, 2007
    9
    I loved it! No, nothing blows up and nobody winds up getting hacked to death but that's half of the appeal of this film. All of us know the wanna-be successful dad. All of us know the chain-smoking mom in denial, pretending that if she doesn't acknowledge that her husband is a failure, her brother is suicidal and her daughter has no chance of winning the pageant that it all I loved it! No, nothing blows up and nobody winds up getting hacked to death but that's half of the appeal of this film. All of us know the wanna-be successful dad. All of us know the chain-smoking mom in denial, pretending that if she doesn't acknowledge that her husband is a failure, her brother is suicidal and her daughter has no chance of winning the pageant that it all doesn't exist. Excellent job by Michael Arndt, the producers and directors. Best of luck to LMS as Best Picture of 2006! Expand
  78. NancyH
    Aug 5, 2006
    9
    Loved this movie--and I kid you not, one of the best mainstream movies I've seen all year. This quirky, dysfunctional family is not so dysfunctional after all when they come out of their own worlds to rally behind Olive, the youngest in her quest to win Little Miss Sunshine child pageant. The contrast between this kooky family and the pageant enthusiasts will certainly make youLoved this movie--and I kid you not, one of the best mainstream movies I've seen all year. This quirky, dysfunctional family is not so dysfunctional after all when they come out of their own worlds to rally behind Olive, the youngest in her quest to win Little Miss Sunshine child pageant. The contrast between this kooky family and the pageant enthusiasts will certainly make you question what is normal? Expand
  79. CB
    Sep 3, 2006
    9
    Owen Gleiberman is retarded. This is one of the best indie comdies since Swingers. I don't know anyone that didn't love it.
  80. staubin
    Sep 7, 2006
    9
    I'm not one of those people who laughs out-loud in movie theaters, but this movie made me do that... over a dozen times. Awesomely funny.
  81. KristinP.
    Jan 13, 2007
    9
    Hysterical, heart warming story.
  82. JulioM.
    Feb 4, 2007
    9
    At the end of this movie I felt warmth in my heart.
  83. MichaelT.
    Aug 9, 2009
    9
    I am amazed by some of the reviews here. If anyone here trusts user-submitted reviews, I beg you you to ignore any that are full of finger-shaking hyperbole and excessive use of first-year university words. This film is heartwarming, funny and charming. It's one of the few films I will watch when I want to be cheered up. It's Disney for tax-payers.
  84. BrianJ.
    Aug 6, 2006
    9
    Includes 5 of the most wonderful minutes in film history.
  85. JonM.
    Sep 14, 2006
    9
    Superb. Charming, witty, biting, funny, moving, a film that brings redemption for a season nearly devoid of inteligent and entertaining film. A delight to watch from first scene to last.
  86. GaryE
    Sep 27, 2006
    9
    Went in expecting the usual American drool however was surprised. Funny yet sad and very well acted.
  87. KenGleason
    Sep 5, 2006
    9
    Maybe it's my love of dyfunctional family movies (makes me feel better about my own), but I thought this movies was well-acted, scripted and heartfelt...and funny. The cast works well together, and, really, is there better overall actress than Toni Collette? Paul Dano, last seen by me in the terrific L.I.E. is a revelation.
  88. Rev.Rikard
    Sep 9, 2006
    9
    At last, a movie that redeems a very ordinary year in film. This is National Lampoons' Vacation with a ton of humanity thrown it. As we witness the agony of dreams crushed by a superficial society, we eventually arrive at the film's destination: ultimate meaning is experienced in relationships of genuine substance. This is one of the few films that allows us to experience the At last, a movie that redeems a very ordinary year in film. This is National Lampoons' Vacation with a ton of humanity thrown it. As we witness the agony of dreams crushed by a superficial society, we eventually arrive at the film's destination: ultimate meaning is experienced in relationships of genuine substance. This is one of the few films that allows us to experience the destruction of the insignificant and realization of the precious as we join a family in a Volkswagon Van. Collapse
  89. MartinS.
    Jan 13, 2007
    9
    One of the best movies I've seen all year. Would have given it a 10 but found the competition scenes a bit cliched. Excellent performances all around.
  90. BurrrT.
    Jan 28, 2007
    9
    The people who rated this movie lowly either didn't finish watching the film or went in expecting one thing and can't forgive the directors for giving them something else. Yes there were small holes in the plot but each performance was excellent, nothing was crammed down your throat, and the ending was one of the funniest in recent memory.
  91. BradenR.
    Feb 7, 2007
    9
    Classic! It's going to be the next movie that every college kid has on DVD.
  92. CraigAS
    Oct 10, 2006
    9
    God, how I loved this movie.
  93. JPP.
    Nov 6, 2006
    9
    First time directors, Faris and Dayton, have created a remarkably and genuinely excellent film. From the amazing cast and their splendid performances to the hilarious screenplay written by Michael Arndt, 'Little Miss Sunshine' is hands down one best films of the year. The great thing about each character that is apart of the Hoover family and featured in the movie, is that First time directors, Faris and Dayton, have created a remarkably and genuinely excellent film. From the amazing cast and their splendid performances to the hilarious screenplay written by Michael Arndt, 'Little Miss Sunshine' is hands down one best films of the year. The great thing about each character that is apart of the Hoover family and featured in the movie, is that they're all so very realistic. The most distinctive and memorable members of the family would have to be Olive's older brother, Dwayne and Grandpa. Dwayne presents the characteristics of what many kids today consider themselves today as "emo". As the film advances, we learn he is actually just your average teenager that's simply misunderstood and not "emo" at all. Then there's Grandpa; wisecracking, heroin snorting, kicked out of the retirement home for sleeping around Grandpa. Arkin does a terrific job with this role. He brings not only the character's written personality to life, but adds his own flare as well with his great facial expressions that only fuels the entertaining hoopla presented in 'Little Miss Sunshine'. The hilarity doesn't seem to stop even when death tries to darken the movie's comedic stance. Grandpa's rantings alone make the movie worth seeing. The irony that Olive's dad, Richard, is a motivational speaker who day in, day out informs people about how to achieve their goals, yet he himself can't accomplish anything is just of the several added bonuses. After changing my mind three times; first deciding to see 'The Illusionist', then again to 'The Black Dahlia', and finally agreeing upon 'Little Miss Sunshine' I'm really glad I did. There's not a funnier or better cast film out right now. The bottom line is 'Little Miss Sunshine' is an absolute winner and one of the few must-see films of the year. The only reason not to see it would be because it's no longer playing at your theater. In which case you then find another theater in your area that is. Expand
  94. JackG.
    Aug 11, 2006
    9
    Probably the best movie I have seen all summer. Great story idea, wonderful ensemble of characters and actors, hugely funny moments, and a subversive undertone that connects to the heart of what the movie is about. Great!
  95. GrahamM.
    Aug 18, 2006
    9
    This was an excellent movie I must say. Carell was excellent. This is much better than mainstream films a lot of the time.
  96. MahauM.
    Aug 21, 2006
    9
    An incredible film... hilarious, touching, and at times gut-wrenchingly sad. If you are expecting a hollywood ending, you will be disappointed, but it's the perfect indie film.
  97. DanaG
    Aug 22, 2006
    9
    Loved every moment of it. I knew in the first 10 mins that this one would be a keeper.
  98. JohnBarton
    Aug 28, 2006
    9
    When is the last time you sat thru a movie where the entire audience laughed almost continously and applauded loudly at the end. That's what happened in LMS, a really fun, wholly entertaining
    and uplifting movie. Anyone who doesn't love this film should quit going to movies. It's really good, and works on many different levels.
  99. GeorgeV.
    Aug 29, 2006
    9
    Unique and entertaining - I thought it was well done and very enjoyable. A welcome change from the usual "cookie cutter" and formulaic comedies that we are usually subjected to each summer. Those that gave it a low rating have missed the point entirely! Go see it!
  100. CynS.
    Sep 11, 2006
    9
    Subversive and hilarious.
Metascore
80

Generally favorable reviews - based on 36 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 36
  2. Negative: 0 out of 36
  1. 70
    It's the journey that offers the most enjoyment. Well, that and the beauty pageant climax, which I won't spoil here, but is one of the funniest scenes from film in recent memory.
  2. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    63
    Diverting and often funny enough, largely thanks (as is not unusual in cases like this) to its cast.
  3. Reviewed by: Duane Byrge
    80
    A brainy blend of farce and heart, this is one of those movies that veteran moviegoers complain they don't make anymore.