Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 61 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Once the high school cheerleading captain who dated the quarterback, Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) now finds herself a thirty something single mother working as a maid. Her sister Norah, (Emily Blunt), is still living at home with their dad Joe (Alan Arkin), a salesman with a lifelong history of ill-fated get rich quick schemes. Desperate to get her son into a better school, Rose persuades Norah to go into the crime scene clean-up business with her to make some quick cash. In no time, the girls are up to their elbows in murders, suicides and other... specialized situations. As they climb the ranks in a very dirty job, the sisters find a true respect for one another and the closeness they have always craved finally blossoms. (Overture Films) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 22 out of 32
  2. Negative: 0 out of 32
  1. Reviewed by: Stina Chyn
    Beneath its morbid exterior, Sunshine Cleaning projects a tender portrait of how people help out others and seek a better life for themselves.
  2. That Sunshine Cleaning was made by women is best revealed in the filmmakers' willingness to let the story breathe on its own terms, without bringing in anything extraneous, unwelcome and exciting.
  3. The director, New Zealander Christine Jeffs ("Sylvia"), loosens the plotting as best she can, letting the interactions breathe. Her work, and the film, is strictly about the performers.
  4. You'll miss out on some really great stuff if you don't see this surprising movie.
  5. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    An intelligent, often touching, sometimes pedestrian drama.
  6. 50
    The material might have promise as a black comedy, but its attempt to put on a smiling face is unconvincing.
  7. Reviewed by: Dan Zak
    A boring, choppy dramedy.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 20
  2. Negative: 4 out of 20
  1. Sep 27, 2010

    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. Expand
  2. Feb 24, 2013
    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 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
  3. Mar 7, 2011
    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 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!
  4. Jun 3, 2011
    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. Expand
  5. Aug 25, 2012
    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. Expand
  6. Jan 3, 2011
    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. Expand

See all 20 User Reviews