Retro Review: Sunshine Cleaning

Sunshine Cleaning is really a tale of two sisters. You have one who was the beauty queen in high school, fell in love but he married another woman. And the other sister who has had a rough go of it with everything she does.

Amy Adams stars as Rose the former high school beauty queen who is still sleeping with her high school’s lead football star Mac (Steve Zahn) even though he married another woman.

One night during one of their trysts, Mac listens as Rose tells him how much she hates her job as a maid. Rose wants a better life for her son Oscar.

So Mac suggests why doesnt she become a freelance crime scene cleaner. She would clean up after the police have taken the body and gathered their evidence. Mac says it would be very lucrative and would help out Rose’s situation.

So Rose looks into what it would take to become one of these professionals. She teams up with her sister, Norah (Emily Blunt) who has once again lost her umpteenth job. Their father (Alan Arkin) also lends support by looking after Oscar while they are on jobs.

Sunshine Cleaning is a bitter-sweet comedy as we are once again cheering for the underdog.

Amy Adams does approachable and vulnerability with ease these days and this film definitely shows how she can work that side of her repertoire.


As good as Amy is, Emily Blunt steals the show from her. Emily takes what could be a throw away roll and makes Norah even more quirky than probably was written in the script.

Alan Arkin is also quite delightful as their struggling salesman father. He is always there with a nugget of wisdom while he is swallowing his latest failure. (like the shrimp in the bathtub)

I liked that this film was about an occupation many of us probably don’t understand and take for granted. But through Rose we not only learn about the profession but we also see what not to do. The whole mattress scene is hysterical and then if you watch the featurette on the DVD it will bring a whole new level to the film’s classic scene.

Sunshine Cleaning is a little gem worth seeking out. This is also a good one for moms!

4 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

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