When Olive is accepted into a beauty pageant which was her ultimate dream, her family agree to a cross-country trip in their VW bus. They are all far from perfect and each have issues and problems that will be fully addressed during the trip.
Little Miss Sunshine is a film that tells us that it is perfectly fine to be different and not fit in, that you will have very difficult moments in your life and as dysfunctional as your family may actually be they will be the only ones left when you truly need them.
Sheryl Hoover brings her suicidal brother Frank to stay with the family, he had recently attempted to kill himself when he couldn’t take it anymore when he was rejected by the man he was in love with how picked his greatest competitor over him. His downward spiral of grief would certainly impact the rest of the family. Olive is not your typical girl who takes part in beauty pageants and that was something her family especially her condescending father Richard did not really understand. Dwayne the eldest child has taken a vow of silence and only ever writes things down as he wants to be a jet pilot. Then we get Grandpa Edwin thrown into the mix who has been set away from Sunset Manor a retirement home due to being addicted to heroin.
This mix of issues and family that would be travelling from Albuquerque to Rendono Beach in California was never going to be easy and straightforward. But the love and support towards Olive is truly what sees them through, creating a rather unique environment with some truly hilarious moments that also lead to some heart-warming times.
The characters are all actually very likeable apart from Richard who is a complete loser and has been very unsuccessful in attempting to sell his sell help technique which has nine steps to reach success. Although the main reason I did not like him was trying to fat shame his young daughter and give her food and body issues that really were not needed at all when they were at a diner one day! Each of the characters though I am sure we can relate to at different stages in our lives, so this film is very re-watchable as depending what has happened to you recently you might find yourself sympathising with someone different.
The fact that it does not have a perfect family is probably what makes it so engaging and quite frankly successful, it was a best picture nominee back in 2007. I had watched it before but in all honesty could not remember that much about it. Quite frankly very pleased I went back for another viewing as it is rather wonderful from start to finish. It will make you smile and even push you to tears was well, when they must deal with death.
The performances are outstanding and I truly believe each character was perfectly cast with the actor playing them spot on for the role. Steve Carell actually playing a more depressive character works so well, giving him the opportunity for some green one liners. Toni Collette can take on anything and this role gives her the chance to receive some sympathy as the mother who always tries to keep everyone together. Greg Kinnear nails the downbeat character and makes it rather easy not to like him with his attitude. Abigail Breslin was super cute as Olive and we really did want to see her succeed even though deep down we knew it was not going to end well. Paul Dano pretty much always takes on a strange character and this one was no different at all. Alan Arkin, probably the scene stealer and very easy to understand how he won an Oscar for an actor in a supporting role. A grandpa supporting his granddaughter and giving her confidence was outstanding especially when he was then very inappropriate with everything else.