Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 19 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Reviewed by: Susan Wloszczyna
    Nov 15, 2013
    63
    If Sunlight Jr. does anything, it is to shine a light on the fact that the American dream is a dormant notion for far too many.
  2. Reviewed by: Tomas Hachard
    Nov 15, 2013
    75
    Like "Sherrybaby," Sunlight Jr. explores the troubling gap that can open up between a person's aspirations and his or her reality. But Collyer never looks down on her characters; instead, her films have the quality of a good Springsteen song.
  3. Reviewed by: Sara Stewart
    Nov 14, 2013
    75
    It’s slightly tough to get onboard with the regal Naomi Watts sporting badly sprayed hair and frosted lipstick; surely there are more flattering shades at the Walgreens?
  4. Reviewed by: Walter Addiego
    Nov 14, 2013
    75
    The film is merciless in showing the obstacles faced by a down-and-out couple in strip-mall Florida, but there's a modicum of hope in the genuine love the characters share.
  5. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Nov 14, 2013
    50
    Despite the intensity of their performances, Ms. Watts and Mr. Dillon are only fleetingly convincing as these desperate young Americans trying to maintain a foothold.
  6. Reviewed by: Betsy Sharkey
    Nov 14, 2013
    90
    Though this is an emotionally driven movie, it never drifts into melodrama. Collyer is as pragmatic in her approach as her characters. But it is Dillon and Watts' nuanced portrayals that make "Sunlight's" darkness so appealing.
  7. Reviewed by: Joe Neumaier
    Nov 14, 2013
    40
    Empathy for the all-too-real plight of the working poor drives this heavy but bold indie. Sadly, though, it falters under the weight of too much drama.
  8. Reviewed by: Rene Rodriguez
    Nov 14, 2013
    50
    Sunlight Jr. is what is often described as a slice-of-life drama, but this one is more of a tiny sliver, and it doesn’t leave you with much to chew on.
  9. Reviewed by: Steve Persall
    Nov 14, 2013
    58
    The actors are so good that you wish Collyer offered them a richer arc to play, rather than just a topic.
  10. Reviewed by: Mike D'Angelo
    Nov 13, 2013
    58
    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.
  11. Reviewed by: Rex Reed
    Nov 12, 2013
    50
    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.
  12. Reviewed by: David Fear
    Nov 12, 2013
    40
    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.
  13. Reviewed by: John Oursler
    Nov 12, 2013
    70
    Collyer has a keen eye for underrepresented populations, but she'd be better served in the future to scale back on the overstatement.
  14. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Nov 12, 2013
    63
    Try as she might, Collyer cannot help but judge these people, a not-quite-fatal flaw in a movie about the down and out.
  15. Reviewed by: Scott Tobias
    Oct 8, 2013
    60
    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.
  16. Reviewed by: Frank Scheck
    Sep 27, 2013
    90
    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.
  17. Reviewed by: Ronnie Scheib
    Sep 27, 2013
    80
    Incandescent performances by Naomi Watts and Matt Dillon and an unerring grasp of strip-mall-dominated Florida distinguish Sunlight Jr.
  18. Reviewed by: Rodrigo Perez
    Sep 27, 2013
    67
    Unflinchingly honest and grim, Sunlight Jr. is a valuable piece of work from a filmmaker who has a distinctive voice and concerns.
  19. Reviewed by: Abhimanyu Das
    Sep 27, 2013
    63
    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.
User Score
6.4

Generally favorable reviews- based on 8 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 0 out of 1
  2. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Mar 19, 2014
    5
    The only reason I scored "Sunlight Jr. as high as 5 is because it was done well enough to keep me from walking out on it. Otherwise a 4 would have done it. Never has such good acting, directing, and cinematography been so wasted on a bad script. Anyone who rates this higher than a "5", I would ask them, what on earth did this movie do? If you're going to make a gritty depressing movie you had better have something more to say in the end than, that's all, folks! Full Review »