We are used to seeing bloody crime scenes on our film and TV screens, but its normal for the camera to leave the messy crime scene with the protagonists. Do you ever think about who cleans up the blood and guts afterwards? Sunshine Cleaning takes a different approach, ignoring "who done it?" and concentrating on "who is going to clean this mess up?". It is the story of two sisters who set themselves up in the business of cleaning up murder, suicide and other gory situations.
The story centres on Rose Lorkowski, the older sister, a solo mother and domestic cleaner whose evenings are unevenly divided between real estate night classes and motel rooms with her married, policeman, boyfriend. Its this boyfriend who suggest going into the business of cleaning up crime scenes and an invite to an old school friend's up-market baby shower that motivates Rose to "make something of herself".
Act II is the comedy act as the two sisters set up their business and learn on the job, but as time ticked on I started to wonder if the main plot line was going any further, as things became predictable and repetative. There is not enough substance in the younger sister's slow moving and completely independent sub-plot to sustain the rest of the film. By the final act, I re-classified Sunshine Cleaning from a redemption comedy to a slacker film. One where the writer and director compete with the protagonists for the slacker label. The same can't be said for the actors, Amy Adams is very effective as Rose, a solo mother who whose dreams and enthusiasm exceed her ability to achieve them. She is backed up by Alan Arkin as her gullible yet scheming father and Clifton Collins Jr. as the laconic wholesaler. I wanted to like this film but unfortunately Sunshine Cleaning wastes a clever premise and good cast by being unsure of what story it is trying to tell and how it should tell it.
Ian's rating 1.5/5 Anne's rating 3/5