Sisters Rose, a 30-year-old maid (Adams), and Norah, a mid-twenties slacker (Blunt) still living with their dad (Arkin), start a crime-scene cleaning service at the suggestion of Rose’s police-detective lover (Zahn). In lieu of easy riches, they find hard work, sacrifice and some function in their dysfunctional family. This quirky little film, set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is alternately funny, dramatic and touching. Great performances buoy a well-written script. Arkin plays the boisterous, pseudo-bad-influence grandpa, much like his character in Little Miss Sunshine (sans the drug habit). Adams is sweet and bubbly, but vulnerable. Blunt is sullen and snarky, but endearingly funny, especially with Rose’s son Oscar (Jason Spevak), who is funny and cute without being saccharine. Though some elements of the plot feel a bit familiar, the film pulls it together while maintaining a good balance of dark humor and familial drama. One particularly well-executed scene at the end actually made me well up, which is no small feat. A darkly funny comic-drama.
Film Review: “Sunshine Cleaning”
(Overture Films. 1 hour, 42 minutes. Rated R for language, disturbing images, some sexuality and drug use. Directed by Christine Jeffs.) Amy Adams (Rose Lorkowski), Emily Blunt (Norah Lorkowski), Alan Arkin (Joe Lorkowski), Steve Zahn (Mac). Music by Michael Penn.