Starring: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin
Director: Christine Jeffs
Running Time: 91 mins
Sunshine Cleaning is an American film about two sisters, a single mother and an irresponsible woman, who set up a business cleaning up crime scenes and biohazards.
Despite its strong cast giving some good performances, this film just couldn’t work for me. On the whole, its slow pacing and downbeat atmosphere don’t provide the emotional intrigue needed for a compelling watch, whilst it often fails to deliver on the darker comedy that it features, meaning that the film is generally far duller than it should have been.
Let’s start with the best part of the film, the performances. By no means amazing, there’s still a good range of acting from a strong cast. Emily Blunt and Amy Adams work well together as polar opposite sisters trying to work together, whilst Alan Arkin adds a few moments of light-hearted respite in a separate story line.
However, the performances still don’t do enough to make the characters, and as a result the situation, that intriguing. Of course, that’s not entirely the fault of the actors, but I did feel that they were all missing a real spark that would have made for a far more dramatic and compelling watch, rather than watching them meander through a very morbid movie.
What’s more is this film’s atmosphere is both ineffective and confused throughout. On the one hand, you’ve got quite a dark and downbeat story about the two sisters working in some horrible environments, yet the fact that we only get a very generic character arc for the both of them means that it’s an unwarranted dark atmosphere that doesn’t add any drama to the overall film.
On the other hand, this film’s attempts at comedy are frustrating in contrast with its darker story. It’s clear that we’re not meant to be laughing out loud throughout this film, but whenever I came across humour, whether it be a sillier joke or darker comedy, it just didn’t work. Save for a few golden moments from Alan Arkin, the comedy here felt unnecessary, and hugely ineffective in the end, making for yet more frustration for me.
Overall, I was very disappointed by Sunshine Cleaning. A range of good performances from a strong cast meant that I didn’t hate the film, but it’s on the whole a very dull, unnecessarily downbeat and ineffective comedy-drama that just never got going for me, and that’s why I’m giving it a 6.3.