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Little Miss Sunshine

A Family on the Verge of a Breakdown 

Year: 2006 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 (Scope) 
Certificate: BBFC 15 Cert – Not suitable for under 15s 
Subtitles: This film is not expected to be subtitled, though this cannot be guaranteed. 
Directed by Jonathan Dayton, Valerie Faris 
Starring: Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano  
An image from Little Miss Sunshine

After five years in the making due to financial difficulties, Little Miss Sunshine was finally released at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival where Fox Searchlight purchased its distribution rights. The film focuses on the Hoover family who embark on a road trip to California where daughter Olive (Breslin) wants to enter the Little Miss Sunshine annual beauty pageant. This, however, is no normal family. Olive’s father (Kinnear) is a struggling motivational speaker, her mother (Collette) is a chain smoker who feeds her family fried chicken, her uncle (Carell) is a suicidal scholar and her brother (Dano) is a Nietzsche-loving, self-imposed mute. The challenge is, therefore, not only to get to California, but also to get there without the family having ripped each other to shreds – something that is not necessarily certain in a cramped Volkswagen camper van.

Little Miss Sunshine is undoubtedly one of the funniest films I have ever seen, and was truly the jewel in the crown of the Sundance Film Festival in 2006. Because of the way that it is filmed, the audience is transported with the Hoovers on their trip and you’ll miss them when the film ends. Although it has a superb cast comprising Academy Award nominees Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette, and Golden Globe-winning The Office (USA) star Steve Carell, they do not overshadow what is, in effect, an indie comedy. There is a superb chemistry between the actors and it would be unfair to call the Hoovers a dysfunctional family. The fact that they make it to California (admittedly, not all of them!) proves that they can overcome any obstacles they are faced with.

Ricky Wyatt

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Screenings of this film:

2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)
2006/2007 Spring Term (35mm)
2014/2015 Spring Term (35mm)
2018/2019 Autumn Term (35mm)
2021/2022 Autumn Term (35mm)