© Capelight Pictures/Central

Sunshine Cleaning
U.S.A. 2008

Opening 21 May 2009

Directed by: Christine Jeffs
Writing credits: Megan Holley
Principal actors: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Jason Spevack, Steve Zahn

New Zealand-born director Christine Jeffs and screenwriter Megan Holley develop a visual portrayal of ordinary people under extraordinary circumstances breaking out of social norms for a better life. The 30-something Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams) cleans houses for a living but the money is not enough to support her loving but dysfunctional family: eight-year-old-son Oscar (Jason Spevack), irresponsible sister Norah (Emily Blunt) and unemployed father Joe (Alan Arkin). At a young age Rose was the small-town hopeful for success, but through a rash of unwise decisions she could never rise above her mistakes, which left her destitute. The local police department hires her to clean up after a crime scene; the dividends are astronomical. Rose suddenly has a new lease on life and realizes that biohazard removal and crime-scene clean-up is a lucrative business, and Rose asks Norah to join as partner in this endeavour. Noah, recognizing Rose’s professional take on the job, sees the potential and accepts the position. Together they create a very successful company but are naïve about the technical aspects of a secure investment, e.g., insurance. The amazing performances reflect the reality of an American dream and the effect of financial and personal risk-taking on individual growth. (Karen Pecota)

Second Opinion

Christine Jeff’s new movie starts literally with a bang, and the consequences of that bang help Rose (Amy Adams) re-think and re-organize her life. She is heading nowhere as a poorly-paid hotel cleaner and an unmarried mother with a problem son and a lover who is married to someone else. As a result of the bang and at the suggestion of her lover, Rose starts an unusual but highly profitable cleaning-up-crime-scenes company. Wouldn’t you know it? Just when things are looking up for Rose, her misfit sister causes everything to fall apart. Do not worry. That optimistic attitude to life which Americans have in abundance means that Rose’s future starts to look promising again. This movie takes place in Albuquerque where the squalid happenings in Rose’s life are at odds with the backdrop of wonderful mountain scenery. (Jenny Mather)

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