Little Miss Sunshine

 (6,024)
7.81 h 42 min2006X-RayR
When a fluke gets an awkward 7-year-old invited to compete in a beauty pageant, her misfit family rallies behind her.
Directors
Jonathan DaytonValerie Faris
Starring
Abigail BreslinGreg KinnearPaul Dano
Genres
ComedyDrama
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
Alan ArkinSteve CarellToni ColletteGrant HayesJustin ShiltonAlissa AndereggJerry GilesBeth Grant
Producers
Marc TurtletaubDavid T. FriendlyPeter SarafAlbert BergerRon Yerxa
Studio
The Walt Disney Studios
Rating
R (Restricted)
Content advisory
Nuditysubstance usesmokingfoul languagesexual content
Purchase rights
Stream instantly Details
Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars

6024 global ratings

  1. 85% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 9% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 4% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 1% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United States

SurfingPandaReviewed in the United States on November 23, 2020
1.0 out of 5 stars
Totally glossed over the first time watching. Normalizes the sexualization of children.
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So, this received good reviews when it came out and won a lot of awards. When I first watched it, I thought it was cute, irreverent, and dealt with hard to discuss issues.

Clearly, I glossed over the completely inappropriate and pedophilic subtext of it all. The grandfather is pretty disgusting. I don't care how provocative he was supposed to be and if that was the point and it was supposed to "cool."

The grandfather teaches the little girl her dance routine while he's leaving in the basement. She's left alone with him as he is her coach. Gee, how good is her dance routine? A strip tease. This is disgusting. The grandfather talks about how he used to have sex a lot in his retirement home but was kicked out. So, now he gets to watch his granddaughter practice her striptease routine for a beauty contest. The little girl could have easily learned a breakdancing routine if they wanted to do something different.

If you really want to get a message out of this besides the typical trials and tribulations a family goes through and what they do for each other because they are family, it is this: if you don't have talent, that's ok. Just dance in a sexual way with no moves that require actual skill. And, teach that to your female children.
22 people found this helpful
Sony_XLReviewed in the United States on October 21, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
wonderful performances
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It would be unfair to limit the film to one adjective. But charming is the first one that comes to mind. I really don't know how they did it, but the screenwriter Michael Arndt and directing team Dayton/Faris (Jonathan and Valerie, that is) have managed to create a movie in which we are simply so connected to the characters it's frightening. This is a very quirky bunch, and while their traits can be found in everyone we know, they are certainly extremely weird and I certainly don't know any families who are quite as odd as the Hoovers. And yet, we forge such a strong bond with each and every one of them, right from the opening pre-title introduction sequence - probably the best character introduction sequence I've seen since Magnolia. These people are just so real! It's unbelievable just how three-dimensional these characters are. They remind me of The Squid and the Whale - another recent movie that comes to mind when I think of this type of character development - these are just normal, regular people, and the filmmakers developed them as such in the most in-depth, well thought-out and just ingenious way possible.

That brings me to the second adjective: Realism. If you've seen the film you know that some pretty wacky things go on in it, but in the end, these people are just plain real. They are real human beings - at least we the viewing audience come to believe. If they weren't so incredibly well thought out and detailed and rounded, we wouldn't forge such a strong bond with them. But fact of the matter is, the Hoovers have quickly become one of the most memorable cinematic families. Their traits. Their flaws. Their dreams and ambitions. Their dynamics, mannerisms, nuances. Every tiny little detail about these people is just so incredibly portrayed.

Obviously, it would be unfair to say that a comedy isn't funny. When Little Miss Sunshine gets funny, it's hilarious - we're talking pitch-black dark and very quirky comedy, but it works admirably, reaching sort of a peak in the infamous, hilarious and totally wacky traffic cop scene.

The acting is. Simply put, amazing. You won't see any Oscar moments here, no characters that have some particular traits that require various forms of "method acting" to perform. This is simply actors playing a bunch of people who they are clearly quite unlike, but playing them as if they are. The shining star is young Abigail Breslin, who out-acts pretty much all of her older cast-mates. How she can embody a completely other character at such a young age is completely beyond me - and she's been doing it since age 6! Dakota Fanning, watch out! Paul Dano, the other young actor, also delivers an amazing performance. Myself being fresh out of that period of my life, I can say that his portrayal of a frustrated teenager - specifically in the scene where he just explodes (those who have seen the movie will know what I'm talking about) is just so true and realistic. Arkin is brilliant as the old grandfather, who is at once quite annoying and vulgar and at once the most human of all the characters. The three adult leads also deliver wonderful, nuanced performances - Toni Colette, who has quite a streak of wonderful performances in various films, particularly impressed me.
15 people found this helpful
Kathryn MagendieReviewed in the United States on December 25, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars
DisFUNction
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I have seen this movie maybe five times and never tire of it. This family seems to be on the brink of tearing apart but at their core is support and ... well, dang it, I can't even aptly describe this movie! It's unique and beautiful and fun and tragic and happy and sad and awful and wonderful. The characters are imperfectly perfect. Funnyman Steve Carrell plays against his usual 'type' of character and he hits it right on the mark. Every character has a purpose and every character shines and hits it on the mark. LOVE LOVE this movie!
8 people found this helpful
joel wingReviewed in the United States on April 29, 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Endaring portrait of a dysfunctional family stuck in a VW bus on a roadtrip
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Little Miss Sunshine is a story about a dysfunctional family. Steve Carell is Frank the uncle. He was a professor that got fired, lost his home and tried to kill himself. His sister Sheryl played by Toni Collette is married to Richard played by Greg Kinnear who is a motivational speaker and self-help coach who spews out catch phrases about being winners and losers non-stop to everyone and is a bit of a jerk. They have a son Dwayne played by Paul Dano who is into the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, hates everyone and has taken a vow of silence. The other child is Olive played by Abigail Breslin who wants to be a beauty queen and is going to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine contest hence the movie title. Finally, there’s the grandpa Edwin played by Alan Arkin. He trains Olive for contests, gets high and talks about how much he wants to have sex. They take a trip together in a Volkswagen bus to go to the Little Miss Sunshine competition in California. That’s the source of the comedy and drama as you put these odd characters all together stuck in a very small bus on a roadtrip.

There are plenty of examples about what a bad mix this family is. Dwayne writes a note to Frank when he arrives at their house that says, “Welcome to hell.” Richard tells his daughter Olive not to apologize because it’s a sign of weakness and then tells her that if she eats ice cream she’s going to get fat and that’s not what beauty queens look like. Olive is about 10 years old, and that’s her dad’s message to her. The whole point is putting this group of people together in a bus for several days is going to lead to nothing but trouble.

The movie is a very endearing portrait of a family with problems with lots of laughs thrown in as well.
C
6 people found this helpful
AliceReviewed in the United States on October 19, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
Disgusting, foul language, boring, WOKE.
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Kept trying to watch boring movie. finally disgusted with really terrible language (including lots go blasphemy). Seriously,, do we have to watch trashy people wipe their butts in order to convey the authenticity and gross nuances of their daily lives? A truly creative team could convey this very well w/o bringing everyone )I mean audience, too) down making a movie such as this. Agendas, including LGBTQ pushed, of course, so all the awards this movie got is about as predictable as a Meryl Streep WOKE Oscars speech. and I have to wonder who all came out in droves to give this movie 5 stars. The whole thing is just wrong, with the grandfather and the little girl's striptease act. This is the kinds of gross stuff from Hollywood that keeps bringing us down. I am seeing how movies and videos from Africaan and other countries are not so creepy and corrupting as moved made in America.
4 people found this helpful
Priya JakhmolaReviewed in the United States on March 8, 2021
1.0 out of 5 stars
Inappropriate
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Yes, the acting was great; the storyline kept viewers engaged, the characters were real, and all that but the language and children being depicted in a vulgar way is not acceptable to me. I did not find it funny that a small child is made to perform a striptease routine - taught by noone but her own grandfather. I find that sick! And the fact that so many people love this movie and have nothing to say about that horrific depiction shows us how much our culture has rotted. Very disappointed in the viewers - more so than the movie itself!
7 people found this helpful
Anne S.Reviewed in the United States on July 10, 2018
5.0 out of 5 stars
Flat out laugh out loud.
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This is a favorite movie for many reasons. The off-beat nature and pacing of this film, the terrific character development, the writing, performances, film score ~ it's a hoot.
The serious note in this film, which they get so right, is the message about mental illness. We need each other to pick ourselves up, forgive ourselves, and move ahead to happiness.
17 people found this helpful
Steve YReviewed in the United States on April 16, 2022
2.0 out of 5 stars
One of the things that made Americans think we were making art films
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Disregard the idiotic comments about this movie's sexualizing children. If you pay attention for at least five minutes, you'll notice the overall theme of a normal, dysfunctional family's overcoming societal expectations.

That theme is clammily smashed into our faces in the ending scene, when an innocent girl who doesn't know that she's doing anything sexual offends the organizers of and participants in a pageant that sexualizes children. So if you're worried about that element of the message, let's call it Anti.

I feel like anyone who can't see that blunt, blatant, obvious point shouldn't be allowed to review this movie.

The real problem here is... ok, listen,....

I remember seeing it when it first came out. I had mixed feelings at the time about how successful it was in being what it was intended to be. Tonight I watched it for the first time since then, and I'm disappointed.

Like, five years after 9/11, were we collectively still in a place where we were so uncertain of ourselves as a society that we had to resort to flailing attempts at quirk?

I acknowledge that I'm prejudiced here. To me, any movie that ends with a dance-off is a waste-of-time cop-out. But that's not the core issue.

I remember from the first time I saw this thing that Steve Carell kinda blew my mind in his showing me that someone known for comedy could portray a character sick of life and wanting to die.

I remember the [hilariously] disgusting comments Alan Arkin's character made about sex.

I remember realizing that this movie wasn't quite like anything else I had ever seen before.

I'm happy that this thing seems to have led to better things for Steve Carell, Abigail Breslin, and Paul Dano (who is immensely talented).

But in watching this again for the first time in 16 years, I can't stand it. It's a sad time capsule of all of the worst stylistic elements that were popular in the early 21st century.

23 stars for ALL of the actors' performances.

*Excellent* editing.

Bonus points for incorporating Sufjan Stevens into the soundtrack.

Negative 87 stars for the writing, direction, and insulting assumptions regarding how tone=quirk and that that tone would continue to be the same as time goes by.
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