Home | Sisters | Associates | Friars | Laity | Nuns | Link to Groups | World OP| DLC

Return to 2006 Films

Index of 2006

An Inconvenient Truth
Big Bad Swim
Brokeback Mountain
Cinderella Man
The Departed
The DaVinci Code
Eron: The Smartest
Guys in the Room

Good Night and
Good Luck

Half Nelson
History of Violence
Hotel Rwanda
Little Miss Sunshine
Journey from the Fall
March of the Penguins
Million Dollar Baby
Prairie Home Companion
Star Wars III:
Revenge of the Sith

Thank You for Smoking
The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada
The Sea Inside
United 93
War of the Worlds
Walk the Line
World Trade Center

Little Miss Sunshine
A Review by Tom Condon, OP
(St. Martin Province)

Tells the story of the Hoovers, one of the most endearingly fractured families ever seen on motion picture screens. Together, the motley six-member family treks from Albuquerque to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, to fulfill the deepest wish of 7-year-old Olive, an ordinary little girl with big dreams.

Talk about a dysfunctional family! Little Miss Sunshine, the new comedy, features the Hoover family, one for the books. Foul-mouthed Grandpa likes pornography and cocaine. Dad aspires to be a motivational speaker, although no one can stand to hear his speech. Mom always seems stressed out (can you blame her?) Uncle is a gay, suicidal philosopher. Brother has a goal: acceptance into the Air Force Academy. That sounds normal enough. The catch is that he refuses to speak until he achieves his goal. Young daughter Olive practices a beauty pageant routine with Grandpa daily.

One evening at dinner, Olive receives a call stating that there is an opening for her in the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant to be held in Redondo Beach, California, starting in two days. The only problem is that Olive and her family live in Albuquerque. Since they can’t afford plane tickets, the whole family decides to hops into the broken-down Volkswagen van and heads to California.

Little Miss Sunshine follows the family to the beauty pageant. As you can imagine, many crises occur along the way, all offbeat, some funnier than others. As you can guess, by the end of the road trip, we have learned to love these wacky people, and they learn to accept each other, warts and all.

I must admit that I found the whole child beauty pageant idea a bit creepy. It is played for laughs, but I still found it difficult to watch the way these young girls are exploited to fulfill their parents’ ambitions. Olive does not fit the traditional mold of youthful beauty queens in looks or talent. Olive performs last in the talent competition with a routine she learned from Grandpa. Amazingly, no one else in the family has seen Olive’s routine. Let’s just say it’s not baton-twirling!

As much as it prides itself in being non-traditional, Little Miss Sunshine is pretty formulaic in its structure. However, it is blessed with a first-rate cast, including Toni Collette, Steve Carell, and Alan Arkin. Particularly good is Greg Kinnear as the would-be motivational speaker Richard. His hopelessly optimistic routine plays out until not even he believes its message anymore. Kinnear lets us see the humanity underneath the forced optimism. The young Abigail Breslin is totally winning as Olive, taking it all in through her huge glasses. Even though she is the youngest, she comes across as the wisest of them all.

Little Miss Sunshine is the first film I know to be co-directed by a husband/wife team: Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farris, from a first screenplay by Michael Arndt. They all show a lot of promise, which I hope will be more fully realized in future endeavors.

Tom Condon, OP


In Theatres:
July 26th, 2006

100 Minutes

MPAARating: R

USCCB classification not rated.

Home | Contact Us | DLC
Dominican Life | USA is sponsored by the Dominican Leadership Conference,
the networking organization for elected leaders in the USA.
Dominican Life | USA © 2002-
2007, All Rights Reserved
Web Editor: Anne Lythgoe, OP

Subscribe to DomLife.org and get a free email update every two weeks.