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Sunshine State

30 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From acclaimed writer/director John Sayles (Lone Star, Passion Fish) comes an unforgettable portrait of a richly diverse Florida town threatened by real estate developers. Edie Falco, Angela Bassett and Timothy Hutton lead a remarkable ensemble cast.

A tidal wave of change is coming to Delrona Beach, Florida. Out-of-state developers have descended upon the sleepy coastal community with the promise of big bucks and bigger changes. Torn between honoring family obligations and the lure of quick cash, the locals greet the outsiders with a wildly mixed reception. Marly (Falco, TV's "The Sopranos") is eager to sell the family business and start her life over. As caretaker to her father's motel and restaurant, she's grown resentful of missed opportunities, but finds a glimmer of hope in a tentative romance with a visiting landscape architect (Oscar winner Timothy Hutton). Desiree (Oscar nominee Angela Bassett) left two years ago to escape scandal and make a name for herself as an actress. Reluctantly returning home, she finds her strong-willed mother (Mary Alice) unwilling to let go of the past.

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Angela Bassett, Edie Falco, Jane Alexander, Alan King
  • Directors: John Sayles
  • Format: Anamorphic, Closed-captioned, Color, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 5.0)
  • Subtitles: English, French
  • Subtitles for the Hearing Impaired: English
  • Region: Region 1 encoding (US and Canada only)
    Some Region 1 DVDs may contain Regional Coding Enhancement (RCE). Some, but not all, of our international customers have had problems playing these enhanced discs on what are called "region-free" DVD players. For more information on RCE, click .
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Sony Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: November 19, 2002
  • Run Time: 141 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00006L926
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,191 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Sunshine State" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Dale Rhines on November 23, 2002
Format: DVD
John Sayles, who wrote, directed, and edited Sunshine State, is one of the finest directors working today. He is able to take seemingly unrelated stories and create a wonderful film. His work, including Limbo, Eight Men Out, Lone Star, and Matewan are all movies that make you think. I would have liked more extras on this DVD, but Sayles commentary is interesting and does provide some insight into the movie making process. The movie, about developers moving into a little town in Florida and the effect on the town, looks at class and race differences and provides a different look at Florida, much like Limbo did for Alaska. The cast is really good, led by Edie Falco, who provides a Oscar worthy performance as a "motelier" who wants more out of life but doesn't seem to want it enough to leave, and by Angela Bassett, who did leave and maybe is wondering what she got of life by leaving. Bill Cobbs and TYimothy Hutton also provide solid performances in this movie. As I indictaed, the lack of extras is disappointing, but the movie itself is a gem. John Sayles, whose body of work stands with any director working today, has produced another film that will leave you thinking about it long after you view it.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By BeachReader on January 28, 2003
Format: VHS Tape
This is so much more than a movie about real-estate developers moving into a sleepy coastal community in Florida, despite how it appears at the beginning. It is about the lives and dreams of those who live there; about those who have left and returned; and those who have never left, but want to. It is about dreams: dreams of individuals and dreams held by parents for their children. "Sunshine State" has a unique perspective.
Sayles examines each of his characters with great affection, it seems. No one is all-good or all-bad.....there is a lot of "middle of the road" here, mostly decent people. He lovingly develops his characters slowly and thoughtfully, and never judges these folks, no matter what they decide to do or not do.
The slow, but never boring, pace of this movie allows the viewer to get involved in the lives of its characters, all of whom are played to perfection by fairly high-profile actors (Angela Bassett, Edir Falco, Timothy Hutton, Mary Steenburgen, and Alan King, among others). The narrative is told in ovelapping stories with an intersection of most of its characters as conflicts unfold in the community.
This movie left me with a lot to think about.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Betsy Mendelsohn on January 20, 2006
Format: DVD
Sayles produces an ensemble film with lots of characters moving emotionally, and some staying in place. As with many of Sayles's films, it has a mixed-race cast, something I don't see in many films; he makes a point of discussing ethnicity and identity in many ways. The acting is good, based on Sayles's good script. There are a couple character types from classical theater, like the seer (the doctor), and the Greek chorus (the 4 golfers), that I really appreciated. With interludes of these larger-than-life characters, the movie is more than plot- or entertainment-driven. I also found a lot of suspense in the movie, with questions as simple as "Can we go in here?" or "I'm glad you're here, I've been wanting to talk with you" making me wonder where a scene would lead because the characters don't know where it will go.

There are 2 major plots surrounding 2 excellent actors, the beautiful and angry Angela Bassett and the pretty but sad Edie Falco. Desiree (Bassett) appears to be condemned by old friends and her own mom as a teenage runaway returning almost impossibly late to reconnect, when in fact her parents sent her away. Hers is a strong story of the possibility of recovering some good feelings about her childhood home now that she is in a loving marriage with a really mellow guy (James McDaniel - excellent in this film).

The seer talks about history and the vitality of Lincoln Beach (in the movie), a beachfront neighborhood based on and filmed in the real American Beach, which was a resort founded by a black-owned insurance company for its employees during segregation. Sayles's commentary on the DVD covers a lot of historical detail, but there's enough in the movie to be intriguing and provocative.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By amy on June 24, 2003
Format: DVD
There are so many elements going on in this movie, it's hard to focus on which ones stand out the most.
First and foremost, as a Florida resident for 25 years, he nails the sleepy ocean-front atmosphere. The characters in relation to the land, their struggles with local government and big-time developers are utterly believable and accurately portrayed. The sense of community is delivered admirably with looks into the lives of a wide-range of citizens.
The characters are (for the most part) subtly woven together, no matter how disparate they initially appear. Marly, portrayed by Edie Falco, is my favorite. She's a not-quite-bitter-divorcee who has taken over the family's restaraunt/hotel business. A former Wikki Wachi (sp?) mermaid, this is *not* what she wants to do with her life. But because nothing better has come along, she stays and keeps her father happy.
Rather than one main plot, there are several sub-plots throughout the film. Desiree (Angela Bassett) reconciling herself with her mother and her past. Marly deciding what she wants and what she doesn't want. Exley (sp?) Plantation trying to buy out the town. Dr. Lloyd trying desperately to save the town. Mrs. Stokes wanting to save Terrell, or, at the least, redeem him. Jack just doing his job. Francine running the annual Buckaneer Day. Delia Temple making the best of her situation. Earl trying to kill himself. And the Florida Flash, whom no one really knows what it is he's doing back in town. All of this tied up neatly with four golfers, musing on the nature of the land.
It's a glorious movie. I've watched it four times already, and plan to watch it many more.
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