User Score
6.5

Generally favorable reviews- based on 66 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 48 out of 66
  2. Negative: 10 out of 66
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  1. TM
    Oct 3, 2009
    3
    Why was this movie marketed as a darkly quirky comedy when it's a maudlin drama with a few giggles in it. Though the performances are generally good, I found myself getting annoyed at the lack of development of the characters. It seems like they are screwed before the story begins and and will probably end up screwed in the long run. Though there is an implication of hope at the end Why was this movie marketed as a darkly quirky comedy when it's a maudlin drama with a few giggles in it. Though the performances are generally good, I found myself getting annoyed at the lack of development of the characters. It seems like they are screwed before the story begins and and will probably end up screwed in the long run. Though there is an implication of hope at the end (after 80 mins of pretty much hopeless despair)... when you think about the crap lives they've gotten in the first place, you realize the odds are stacked so far against them there is almost no realistic way out of their respective circles of doom. My rating would of been a five if I had any hint before hand that I was going to see a quirky tragedy with a chuckle or two. One side note... though I found Clifton Collins Jr.'s character to be the warmest and most centered in the movie, I have no idea what dramatic purpose his character really had. That's a shame... because I think they could of done a lot more with him. Expand
  2. averyc
    Sep 22, 2009
    4
    Adams and Blunt are pretty and decent. Arkin is annoying, as always. This movie is tepid and bland like 'Little Miss Sunshine'. Just because something is slow and not about affluent people in NYC or Los Angeles does not make it deep, profound, or moving. Watching this film is like hanging out with boring people in a Starbucks. These slow and/or contemplative films are terrific: Adams and Blunt are pretty and decent. Arkin is annoying, as always. This movie is tepid and bland like 'Little Miss Sunshine'. Just because something is slow and not about affluent people in NYC or Los Angeles does not make it deep, profound, or moving. Watching this film is like hanging out with boring people in a Starbucks. These slow and/or contemplative films are terrific: Solaris, Before Sunset, L'Avventura, Away From Her, Exotica, The Graduate, Scene From a Marriage. Those are great films. Those films are, by and large, about interesting people going through dark hours. 'Sunshine Cleaning' is about boring people going through tough times. Absolutely nothing interesting was done with the characters' proximity to death. That constitutes a huge failure of narrative and psychological imagination. If I sound pissy, it's because I resent when tedium and vapidity masquerade as depth. That excerpt from Rosenblatt's Austin Chronicle review is dead on. Expand
  3. JM
    Sep 9, 2009
    6
    I wasn't disappointed I watched it I just wasn't glad either; I didn't feel satisfied. Adams, Blunt and Arkin are good but there isn't enough plot depth to make the movie, that blame lies with Megan Holley. There are some great moments just too sparse to be really effective. Clifton Collins, Jr. first El Huron, now Winston, wow what a diverse and welcoming actor. While I wasn't disappointed I watched it I just wasn't glad either; I didn't feel satisfied. Adams, Blunt and Arkin are good but there isn't enough plot depth to make the movie, that blame lies with Megan Holley. There are some great moments just too sparse to be really effective. Clifton Collins, Jr. first El Huron, now Winston, wow what a diverse and welcoming actor. While I think the movie did feel real is just wasn't enough. Expand
  4. KellyP
    Apr 10, 2009
    8
    Why is this film only playing in one theatre in my city (Toronto)? It's one of the better films we've seen in a while. It's touching and funny and real. Kudos to Adams and Blunt who both deliver incredible performances. It was a pleasant surprise - and deserving of a higher score.
  5. StevenK
    Apr 4, 2009
    8
    Unusual premise, great acting, Alan Arkin, what more could you ask for.
  6. DaveE
    Apr 6, 2009
    4
    Not a comedy, and that's what I was in the mood for. Not bad, but a disappointment for me. Amy Adams gives a one-note, doe-eyed performance. Much better job by Emily Blunt.
  7. DWilly
    Mar 28, 2009
    8
    I came late to this movie because of the stupid metacritic score and my trepidation for movies that traffic in quirkiness, but this is not quirky, it is good and it has real heft and it has two major actors in Amy Adams and Emily Blunt doing their jobs as artists in a story that holds together with something to say. It does hang close to the "Little Miss Sunshine" formula, but that's I came late to this movie because of the stupid metacritic score and my trepidation for movies that traffic in quirkiness, but this is not quirky, it is good and it has real heft and it has two major actors in Amy Adams and Emily Blunt doing their jobs as artists in a story that holds together with something to say. It does hang close to the "Little Miss Sunshine" formula, but that's not a rap, all the good film noir pictures I've seen stuck to their formula, too. I laughed out loud and it brought me to tears a couple of times and I walking out I was glad I saw it-- that's a movie. Expand
  8. LarryS
    Apr 10, 2009
    9
    Terrific little film. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are fabulous!
  9. LeifD
    Apr 13, 2009
    8
    A clever and entertaining film. The characters are believable and likable. Alan Arkin, as always, delivers a superb supporting performance.
  10. MikeMike
    Apr 4, 2009
    8
    A subtle and poignant film. The acting is supurb and the story is sweet. Might not be enough of a story for those who need every question answered in over-elaborate melodrama, but is just a nice film for everyone else. Great to see a movie that's not overdone. Go see it before it fades from theatres.
  11. carow
    Apr 4, 2009
    1
    Phony, trite, saccharine and entirely calculated -- a kitschy waste of time that condescends to working class people and to women. I say this as someone who likes Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, and who sees more independent movies by far than "big" ones. "Sunshine Cleaning" is to a truly original, honest small film as a convenience store "cherry" "pie" is to a homemade one -- 100% artificial Phony, trite, saccharine and entirely calculated -- a kitschy waste of time that condescends to working class people and to women. I say this as someone who likes Amy Adams and Emily Blunt, and who sees more independent movies by far than "big" ones. "Sunshine Cleaning" is to a truly original, honest small film as a convenience store "cherry" "pie" is to a homemade one -- 100% artificial ingredients. Expand
  12. MitchR
    May 15, 2009
    3
    A vapid, artificial movie. Hardly a true moment in this ponderous parade of cliches. And Arkin phones it in.
  13. TatianaO
    Sep 18, 2009
    8
    Amy Adams does an amazing job in this sweet movie. It makes you want to help out people and be more understanding with people that you do not get. Thumbs up!
  14. SteveM
    Jun 12, 2009
    10
    Loved it, Amy and Emily Blunt are terrific.
  15. Mar 7, 2011
    7
    This was a rather intelligent comedy, with an interesting story and some great acting. The rather unusual plot makes it rather amusing and intriguing to watch, since I've never seen a film that was about post-mortem cleanup - you? Anyway, the storyline is rather interesting, and the only problem is in the lack of development of the characters, mainly by the end of the film. Yes, one of theThis was a rather intelligent comedy, with an interesting story and some great acting. The rather unusual plot makes it rather amusing and intriguing to watch, since I've never seen a film that was about post-mortem cleanup - you? Anyway, the storyline is rather interesting, and the only problem is in the lack of development of the characters, mainly by the end of the film. Yes, one of the two sisters decided that she is 'better than that' and that she will end the affair she was having with a guy. But that's about it. There is no reflection on it. The other sister decides to just take a road trip and disappear. Why? No one knows... Also, the relationship with her (girl)friend just ends abruptly without any sort of pondering upon that. Those are definitely weaknesses in the film, but the laughs, giggles and plenty of good dramatic moments make up for it.
    The cast is great, especially Emily Blunt who had the most expressive performance in quite a while. Amy Adams was her usual greatness, and Alan Arkin was ok - very much the same character he played in "Little Miss Sunshine".

    Overall, despite some problems with the character development and the storyline, "Sunshine Cleaning" is a heart-warming dramedy with interesting events and good acting. Definitely worth watching!
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  16. Jun 3, 2011
    7
    It has gravity but it's not overdone. Great performances from all the cast, but particularly Amy Adams. Not a lot happens, but there is a lot going on underneath.
  17. Sep 27, 2010
    7
    http://mashupmash.blogspot.com/2010/09/sunshine-cleaning.html

    I remember seeing this movie on shelves in blockbuster liking the looks of it, especially when I heard it was from the same producers as Little Miss Sunshine. So recently I downloaded it and gave it a watch. In many ways it was similar to Little Miss Sunshine. Dysfunctional family and all. Maybe I just like those types of
    http://mashupmash.blogspot.com/2010/09/sunshine-cleaning.html

    I remember seeing this movie on shelves in blockbuster liking the looks of it, especially when I heard it was from the same producers as Little Miss Sunshine. So recently I downloaded it and gave it a watch. In many ways it was similar to Little Miss Sunshine. Dysfunctional family and all. Maybe I just like those types of movies as I really liked this one as well. Loved all the characters and their unique and deep troubles they all go through. I do recommend this especially if you like movies such as Little Miss Sunshine. I give it a 4 out of 5.
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  18. Jan 3, 2011
    0
    This movie was a big disappointment. The slow moving undeveloped plot never got off the ground and crashed on the runway. I had no empathy or patience with the characters and I would have had more satisfaction if they had all burned up in the house. I kept waiting for a humorous scene but it never came. It was more befitting an episode on a TV series than a movie.
  19. Sep 1, 2014
    6
    Sunshine Cleaning is familiar, yet absolutely fresh. A dark subject matter that could turn folks away--but the film makes light of it. I found Amy Adams and Emily Blunt to be more than enough to make this film worth it.
  20. May 19, 2015
    7
    Quite emotionally powerful and funny, Sunshine Cleaning is a pleasant little film about life and, most importantly, life when you're dealt a bad hand. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are great here and really have good chemistry. Alan Arkin also does well as is typically the case. The film suffers from the trappings of being a small film that certainly limit its scope, as it does feel small inQuite emotionally powerful and funny, Sunshine Cleaning is a pleasant little film about life and, most importantly, life when you're dealt a bad hand. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are great here and really have good chemistry. Alan Arkin also does well as is typically the case. The film suffers from the trappings of being a small film that certainly limit its scope, as it does feel small in nature, but it is certainly still quite successful. Director Christine Jeffs does a good job in the director's chair and this one is well written, well plotted, and well shot. An entirely unique film in terms of its plot, it does hit many markers when it comes to emotional comedy-dramas, but all the same, the unique focus of the plot really sets this one aside. However, this one's strongest attribute is the way in which it acts as a vehicle for Adams and Blunt to show their strength as leads in a film. Both turn in great performances that certainly hint at their present day status. Expand
  21. Aug 25, 2012
    6
    I wasn't sure whether I would enjoy this film but it is actually a very good film. It is warm-hearted and funny despite the obvious morbid surroundings and the main protagonist is easy to warm to due to her hard-working nature.
  22. Feb 24, 2013
    7
    Released as a highly anticipated feature at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and distributed by the producers of the acclaimed comedy, Little Miss Sunshine, everyone hoped Sunshine Cleaning would be brilliant. It is for those reasons that I think Sunshine Cleaning is not as liked as it should. I feel like because it was not as good as Little Miss Sunshine, viewers and critics unfairlyReleased as a highly anticipated feature at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, and distributed by the producers of the acclaimed comedy, Little Miss Sunshine, everyone hoped Sunshine Cleaning would be brilliant. It is for those reasons that I think Sunshine Cleaning is not as liked as it should. I feel like because it was not as good as Little Miss Sunshine, viewers and critics unfairly judge the film. In doing so they missed out on a great movie experience. What I found in this film was a touching, emotional story fueled by a fantastic cast, and an indie flare that holds it all together. The story was so depressing, more depressing than I thought it would be. I imagined a comedy, but this film is most definitely a drama. The cast was absolutely fantastic. Amy Adams amazed me as I knew she would. She's my favorite actress and she does not disappoint here. She delivers a great performance, portraying multiple emotions and experiences so much. She was so convincing and I felt for her character through the whole film. Emily Blunt also gives a fantastic performance as the sister. She experiences similar things as her sister, but still the character required a special approach, and Blunt delivers. The combination of Adams and Blunt is incredible...and they're both so cute. I can't resist the two of them together. Alan Arkin also is convincing as the lonely father. His character could have been more developed, but I thought he did a very nice job. Supporting actors Steve Zahn, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Clifton Collins Jr., also work nicely in the film. Great cast! I loved this film. I expected to like it, but I also was prepared for disappointment, but the movie delivered for me. I definitely think this film had opportunities to completely "hit it out of the park," but I still really really enjoyed it. I recommend this film! Expand
  23. Oct 26, 2014
    7
    Sunshine Cleaning: 7 out of 10: Sunshine cleaning is by the producers of Little Miss Sunshine. In addition, although Alan Arkin plays a similar role in both (What could easily be considered the Alan Arkin role by now) the film is very different in tone.

    It consists of two sisters who are behind in life due to their own choices. There are no “victims” here. These women (played very well
    Sunshine Cleaning: 7 out of 10: Sunshine cleaning is by the producers of Little Miss Sunshine. In addition, although Alan Arkin plays a similar role in both (What could easily be considered the Alan Arkin role by now) the film is very different in tone.

    It consists of two sisters who are behind in life due to their own choices. There are no “victims” here. These women (played very well by Amy Adams and Emily Blunt) have made some bad decisions in life and as a result are playing catch-up.

    The movie (unlike Little Miss Sunshine) simply does not have a false note. All the people places and situations are remarkably believable. You will learn more about the do’s and don’ts of crime scene clean-up than you thought possible.

    The movie is also wonderfully free of cynicism and snarkiness. While both those elements certainly have a place in film, it is refreshing to see a warm comedy about real people in transitional circumstances.

    Overall, Sunshine Cleaning is light fair with warm feelings and a happy ending. Kudos to the film in not making the protagonists perfect or victims or circumstance and kudos for casting two wonderful actresses that actual look and act like they could be real sisters.
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Metascore
61

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are two highly attractive, naturally funny actresses on the cusp of stardom so their pairing here as two lost souls is genius.
  2. Reviewed by: Todd McCarthy
    50
    Director Christine Jeffs, who previously helmed "Rain" and "Sylvia," tries to strike a balance between the yarn's dark currents and offbeat comedy, but the result is often uneasy, with the humor receding as things progress.
  3. Reviewed by: Robert Wilonsky
    50
    More than a year after its first twirl at Sundance, this Amy Adams–Emily Blunt dramedy finally shrugs its way into theaters, and it feels almost like an afterthought.