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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best indie flick of 2006!!
This was another one of those films I know too little about when I saw it. That was the best thing about it. It was a complete surprise and was one of the most touching and humourous films of the year.

The old story of a dysfunctional family coming together through tough times to realise that their family really is quite special, has never been done with such...
Published on 16 Dec. 2006 by T. Cosens

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well acted but overrated
This DVD has sat on my shelf for over a year now and I recently decided to see what the fuss was about, sadly it joins a list of movies that were critically applauded but left this reviewer unmoved, `Happiness' and the `Royal Tennenbaums' being examples of well received films I thought I would enjoy but which just didn't work for me.

To be positive It is very...
Published on 12 Oct. 2010 by zolaczakl1348


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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Best indie flick of 2006!!, 16 Dec. 2006
By 
T. Cosens (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This was another one of those films I know too little about when I saw it. That was the best thing about it. It was a complete surprise and was one of the most touching and humourous films of the year.

The old story of a dysfunctional family coming together through tough times to realise that their family really is quite special, has never been done with such skill as this.

You dont feel bogged down in any setimentality. You just enjoy the ride. Trust me its a fun ride! The characters are superb. Little Miss Sunshine herself being an extremely lovable lead. Then you have grouchy Granpa and suicidal Uncle (Steve Carrell on top form). The ruthless "must win everything" father and the caring doting mother aswell as the moody and silent older brother.

Some of the set peices will go down in history, such as, the hilarious van they use to drive cross-country. To start it up they have to push until they are going fast enough to jump gears.

This carries a strong message of family values, but doesnt ram it in your face! Its a well crafted, funny, touching and entertaining film which deserves to be watched and adored by all.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Satisfyingly un-Hollywood feelgood movie, 20 Dec. 2007
By 
Mr. Stephen Kennedy "skenn1701a" (Doha, Qatar) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Looking for yet another Rom-com to cheer you up, where you know exactly how it will end...? Apply elsewhere! This is a movie that takes its good time in getting to the feel-good part, but does so with such a compellingly dysfunctional family of characters that you'll feel enriched for staying on board to the end.
The stalls are set out from the get go, when we meet each of the principal characters of the family, as different as could be. When the young daughter has a chance to compete in the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant (scary that such events exist), they all up and leave en masse in the yellow VW minivan for a memorable road trip. The worldly and outspoken grandpa, the suicidal brother, the relatively normal mother trying to keep the family on track, the father obsessed with success but unable to grasp it himself, the rebelling teenager in a vow of silence.. all are thrown into close proximity for the journey to California. Add a seriously temperamental VW minibus, and the stage is set for some soul searching, reality checks, pathos and humour.
As a comedy, this is certainly no exercise in hilarity or slapstick.... but it will leave you smiling, and it WILL leave you talking about it after the DVD is back in the case.. what better compliment could there be.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Offbeat perfection with widespread appeal? surely not..., 8 July 2007
By 
Mr. C. A. Lillie (Wallasey, Merseyside United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Right, so there it is!! Offbeat dark comedy with uplifting and life enhancing scenes illustrating impressive family and life moral issues??? Yup!! That's the sum of its parts! Good acting in relatively superficial characters that somehow provide a very enjoyable experience from beginning to end!!

That's what this is!! The wonderful sum of its dark yet accessible parts! Genious, more of this.....
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Are you gonna win?", 19 Aug. 2007
By 
Sebastian Fernandez (Tampa, Florida United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This is one of the funniest movies I have seen in the last few years. This is the result of a combination of fascinating characters, great dialogues and outstanding performances by an all-star cast. On top of that, the final scene is so unexpected and hilarious that you will be rolling on the floor laughing.

Olive is a seven-year-old girl whose hobby is to compete in pageants. She spends a lot of time practicing her routine and watching recordings of the Miss America pageant and mimicking the gestures of the competitors. She has one of the most dysfunctional and peculiar families you can think of. Her father, Richard, has created a nine-step program to transform people into winners. He is trying to get a publisher for the book, "Refuse to Lose", and the economic future of the family depends on the success of this enterprise. Her mother, Sheryl, likes to be brutally honest, feeds her family chicken out of a bucket every night and hides her smoking habit. Sheryl also has to deal with the suicide attempt by her brother, uncle Frank. Olive's grandpa also lives with the family. The old man is Olive's coach and has a drug addiction. Finally, there is the brother, Dwayne, who has promised not to talk until he is accepted into the Air Force and who idolizes the German philosopher Nietzsche.

The dialogues are so good that it is unreal. For example, the honest approach of Sheryl led to a discussion during dinner in which Frank ended up explaining about his suicide attempt. But this carried further, since one of the reasons for it was being rejected by his male lover. Imagine the faces and comments of a seven-year-old when hearing about this! During this dinner, Olive finds out that the girl she lost to in the regional Little Miss Sunshine pageant has withdrawn from the finals. Now Olive has the chance to take her place and compete for the national title. The result is a road trip to California with the whole family in an old yellow van.

There are a variety of complications during the trip and we get so see how the different members of the family react to stress. Once again, the conversations are what drive the interest, and grandpa (Alan Arkin) stands out with his incomparable sarcasm. Arkin's is the best performance of the bunch, but the other members of the cast do not lag far behind. Greg Kinnear and Steve Carell play their roles convincingly, and Paul Dano really shows us how a conflicted teenager behaves. Abigail Breslin deservedly got an Oscar nomination for her performance, and she joins the group of outstanding kids in movies, like Elijah Wood, Macaulay Culkin and Ivana Baquero. If you want to have a good time and laugh for a while there are few options better than this one. Highly recommended!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Everybody pretend to be normal., 25 Jan. 2007
By 
Ben Ripley (Melbourne, Australia) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This movie was the highlight of cinema releases in 2006.

I went to see it twice at the cinema and have just watched my DVD and I still laughed until I cried.

If someone had told me beforehand that I was going to love a movie about an American dysfunctional family taking a road trip to a beauty pageant in California, I would have scoffed in their faces. I would also have had to eat some humble pie afterwards.

The film works because of so many perfect ingredients.

Firstly, the casting is divine. Toni Collette is an incredibly talented actress, Greg Kinnear does understated comedy so well and Alan Arkin is (as always) a consumate actor.

Paul Dano's performance is subtle and brilliant as the sulky teenager (the most realistic teenager protrayed on screen for years) and Steve Carrell is having his finest moment as wounded Proust scholar Frank.

It has to be said though that Abigail Breslin steals this movie. She is the most delightful, entertaining and briliant child actors for years. Her performance as Olive is the sweetest, most touching and hilarious.

The script is wonderfully polished to the point where each character is so terrifically defined, you come away from the movie wanting to know what happened to each and every one of them afterwards.

The biggest credit has to go to the directors who spent a long time pouring their hearts and souls into this movie, desperately trying to get funding to get it made. And thank goodness they did.

Little Miss Sunshine is one of the most fantastic, heart-warming and cheerful movies to come out of America for a very long time.

As for the extras on the DVD; I would have liked to have had a few behind the scenes documentaries, but the four alternate endings are intriguing and the commentary is very informative.

Maybe there will be a two-disc special edition one day...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars By turns uplifting and heartbreaking, 7 Mar. 2008
By 
This review is from: Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Looking at the reviews on here it has to be said that this film seems to be one that divides viewers. Personally I cannot understand how anyone could watch it and think they had "wasted two hours" of their lives or that its "drivel"- I found this totally charming.

The story revolves around the highly dysfunctional Hoover clan and their little poppet Olive who's one dream it is to be a beauty princess in one of those grossly unpleasant pre-teen beauty contests that occasionally have documentaries made about them. The man of the house is Richard, a would-be motivational speaker, whose obsession with winning marks him out as a total loser. Mom is Sheryl, played by the wonderful Toni Collette, a control freak on the verge of watching her second marriage crumble. The first time we see Grandpa he is taking heroin and teenager Dwayne has taken a vow of silence until he gets accepted for flight school to be a pilot. Into this fractured dynamic comes Sheryl's brother Frank, recovering from a suicide attempt after being rejected by his male lover.

When a stroke of luck sees Olive win a place in the eponymous Little Miss Sunshine contest the whole family bundle into a battered VW bus and basically push it from New Mexico to California. Along the way they are forced to face up to a number of truths about themselves and each other and almost universally watch their dreams turn to smoke and blow away, and yet its utterly uplifting because they never give up on Olive's dream even when their own are shattered. There's not a weak link in the cast with cute-as-a-button Olive winning hearts and Alan Arkin as grandpa delivering all the best salty lines as the drug using, porn loving, old man. Steve Carell turns in a very understated performance as Uncle Frank while Paul Dano's silent teen's heartbreak is crushing to watch.

Ultimately we know Olive will not win Little Miss Sunshine and the final scenes are uncomfortable to watch. Equally the writers' intent is clear as they raise the hypocrisy in these contests. In the end though Olive is a winner because she wasn't afraid to try and this victory carries her family and the viewer along with her. A real gem.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good movie, 25 April 2007
This review is from: Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
I really liked 'Little Miss Sunshine' for a couple of reasons - the acting by all of the cast members was really good. Toni Collette particularly was really good, capturing a lot of the subtleties of her character. She and Greg Kinnear also had a really good chemistry as the couple struggling with money pressures and a number of dysfunctional family members. Steve Carell is really good as troubled 'Frank', one of the best minds in the country who's tried to commit suicide after falling in love with a student. He plays the role with humour, poignancy and intelligence, casting a critical eye on the Dad's (Kinnear) failed 9-step plan to success. Collette, who's 'pro-honesty', decides not to hide the reasons for Frank's injuries from young Olive, her daughter who's desperate to complete in the LMS beauty pagent. But there's more to this family - Grandad's being thrown out of his retirement home for smoking heroin, remarking re drug use 'when you're old you're crazy not to'; and Dwayne has taken a 9-month vow of silence and looks to continue until he reaches flight school.
The script is fresh, original and fairly humourous with interesting characters. Its true that it would be interesting to learn more of Frank's troubles prior to his suicide attempt, but its almost like all of the characters are enduring their own 'struggles' privately - Mum's smoking, Grandad's doing drugs, Dad and Dwayne are bottling up their anxieties. Only Frank and Olive seem oddly trouble free - Frank because he's been sacked and has nothing to do, but accompany the family on their road trip to the pagent; and Olive because of her innocent ambitions to win the pagent. The film is really about the strength of familial bonds, no matter what and it is a satisfying movie!
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fantastic viewing, 16 April 2007
This review is from: Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
This is one of the best films I've watched for ages.... touching, quirky, well acted and hilarious. It made me laugh out loud several times!

This is definitely a film that I will watch again. Highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Indie Film, 14 Feb. 2007
By 
C. Mcsloy "I baptised a dog" (Nowhere in particular today) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
Went to see this little gem at the cinema when it came out and I would strongly recommend it. Even if it turned out to be tosh it would have been worth watching for the great cast alone. You've got Toni Collete, Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrol and the greatest supporting actor ever (and the original inspector Cleuseou fact finders) Alan Arkin. The script is great funny yet not lightweight, offbeat without being overly weird and quirky. The chemistry between the cast is magic, particularly the relationship between Steve Carrol (in his first "straight role") and Alan Arkin. Greg Kinnear is also definately warming on me, he is always credible and he always chooses really interesting projects like this, Nurse Betty or Autofocus. Plus it is a road movie and road movies are always good, even if they're bad!!!
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67 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars "Don't apologize. It's a sign of weakness.", 20 Dec. 2006
This review is from: Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] (DVD)
In a movie with some of the most beautifully drawn characters I've seen in a movie this year, Little Miss Sunshine proves that being a success in life often comes from deep within the heart and that love can come where you least expect it. It doesn't take long to figure out that dysfunction is the order of the day in Hoover family of Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Grandpa (Alan Arkin) is a bitter old hippy who swears profusely and does heroin. Dad (Greg Kinnear) has hopes to publish a dreary nine-step program that asks people to banish their inner losers and be winners. Chubby little Olive (a lovely Abigail Breslin) is determined to become a prepubescent beauty queen, the winner of the Little Miss Sunshine.

Olive's sullen brother (Paul Dano) wants to join the air force and hasn't spoken for nine months and his uncle Frank (Steve Carell) is America's most renowned Proust scholar who has just tried to commit suicide after his boyfriend dumped him.

Leave it to Mom (Toni Collette) the only one of this weird bunch who seems to be grounded yet who gravitates between simmering resentment of her husband and an aching desire to keep her family together. She obviously loves them all but she's too distracted to cook; it's all KFC and Pepsi night after night.

But when the cute owl-eyed Olive finds out that she has a serious chance of winning the Little Miss Sunshine contest in California, no one can decide who should go with her, so the whole Hoover bunch piles into a Volkswagen bus so that Olive can take her shot at the crown.

Thus begins their wacky road trip, which full of trouble, where death lies just around the corner and some family secrets are better left unsaid. Beautifully acted by this superlative ensemble cast - the timing of all six leads is impeccable - Little Miss Sunshine sort of gravitates between black comedy and a kind of benign sadness.

Obviously these are all frustrated people, their lives up until now seem to have peppered with frustrations and disappointments, and none of them have really achieved their dreams, which makes their desire to get Olive to the pageant in time, all the more auspicious.

For all the exaggerations in Michael Arndt's script which has been dashingly directed by the husband-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris - the movie comes closer to the truth about the way people really live - on the edge of fantasy-driven desperation - than any other film to be released in recent years. Perhaps this is why the film has managed to touch so many hearts.

Obviously, the beat-up and broken down old Volkswagen is a metaphor for this family, who when we first meet them seems to be breaking apart at the seams. Yet they seem to struggle along and cope, even though, as with they're likely their means of transport, only the third and fourth gears are functioning. Their trip is indeed peppered with many disappointments, but in the process they do indeed discover what it really means to be a family. Mike Leonard December 06.
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Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006]
Little Miss Sunshine [DVD] [2006] by Valerie Faris (DVD - 2007)
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