© Twentieth Century Fox of Germany GmbH

Little Miss Sunshine
U.S.A. 2006

Opening 30 Nov 2006

Directed by: Jonathan Dayton
Writing credits: Michael Arndt
Principal actors: Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette

With a failed motivational speaker for a father, a heroine snorting grandfather, a suicidal gay uncle, and a brother who has refused to speak for nine months, little Olive Hoover’s family could not be more dysfunctional. When Olive is selected by default to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant in California, the entire family piles into their old VW van for a road trip which becomes an intensely personal journey, and luckily for the audience hilarious as well, for all. This refreshingly real near-black comedy is not to be missed. It showed at the Hamburg Film Festival. (Shauna Keeley)

Second Opinion

This is a hilarious comedy about a family of extreme individuals, each member rejecting the other members’ values—making life together tough. Grandpa (Alan Arkin) a bitter, secret heroin addict, lives with his son’s family and teaches nine-year-old Olive (Abigail Breslin) a dance routine so she can participate in her dream, the Little Miss Sunshine Beauty Pageant. Super squeaky clean dad Richard (Greg Kinear) is a workaholic entrepreneur whose “Refuse to Lose—a nine-step program” is dead, but as he truly believes in his product, he refuses to lose. Worn-out working mom (Toni Collette) trying to hold it together with KFC, now adds suicide watch to her duties, as her depressed brother Frank (Steve Carell) a gay Proust scholar, moves in to share her teenage son Dwayne’s bedroom. Dwayne refuses to speak until he is old enough to join the Air Force in two years. All pile into an old VW bus to rush cross state to the beauty competition, where what really matters is revealed. Little Miss Sunshine was the closing film of the HHFF, where the audience loved it and it was one of my favorites too. It is the first feature film for the directorial team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, makers of music videos and commercials. Be ready for some strong language. (Nancy Tilitz)

The theaters below show films in their original language; click on the links for showtimes and ticket information.
Interviews with the stars, general film articles, and reports on press conferences and film festivals.
Subscribe to the free KinoCritics monthly email newsletter here.