Everyone loses. You lose, I lose, that weird guy down the street growing marijuana in his roof loses. We all lose. I guess that makes us all losers by the fault. Which would generally be a bad thing.
Well, I’ve never seen a film make such a compelling case to make the viewers want to be losers than this one. The message I suspect they are trying to get across is that it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it’s the actual journey of getting to the end, how you come to your result, that only matters. So, if you’re honest to yourself, true to everyone around you, believe in yourself and not worry about what anyone else is thinking about you, then no matter if you are the winner or the loser, you really are the moral winner.
Little Miss Sunshine has a deceptive title. Everyone remembers the Little Miss books from their childhood (if you’re young enough). They are happy little children’s books with little to no substance between the pages other than colourful pictures and basic sentences. Got it? Ok, now dispel that notion because Little Miss Sunshine is extremely deep, packed with moral, ethical and personal questions, all thrown at you with the use of adult humour and a fantastic script. Not to mention delivered by the best assortment of character actors I’ve seen in the past year. I need not sing the praises of Steve Carelll; the comedic genius from The Daily Show a while ago, and of late, the US series of The Office (which a regular reader will know, I rate as one of the best).
Forgetting about the acting for now, because the movie is much more juicier than just that, what you have in this film is an M-rated positivity message that should be shown through schools. Of course, you’d have to hope that the kids can cope with the hilarious scenes, especially where the grandfather Edwin (the Academy Award winning role of Alan Arkin) tells his grandson to “Fuck a lot of women, not just one. A lot of women.”, and scene after scene showing failure after failure of each character. Because that’s how it goes down: each and every character fails in what they are trying to do except for one. And when the success of the one occurs, it brings the rest of the family together to rejoice and enjoy the moment in the spotlight.
So, while the whole family ends up being a loser in their endeavors, they all discover a whole new side to themselves – strength and character – and it’s this process that is so entertaining, hilarious and moving for the audience that makes this film so damn good.
In other words: go see Little Miss Sunshine.