23/09/2009 23:00.

free-show-little-miss-sunshine-sept-24th“An amusing comedy…a refreshing and ultimately affirmative movie” (Philip French, The Observer). Olive is a slightly plain and be-spectacled 7 year old from Albuquerque, New Mexico, who has set her sights on entering the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. She persuades her reluctant parents and her extended family to escort her to California. Their dilapidated but resplendent VW bus provides the visual metaphor for uniting the family in adversity. The ensemble cast, including Alan Arkin and Toni Collette, carry this unlikely story with wit and style. (Cert 15)
Dirs: Jonathan Dayton/Valerie Faris 99 mins USA 2006

Programme Notes

Thursday 13th November 2008

USA 2006 99 minutes Cert. 15

The film debut from directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, Little Miss Sunshine is a light hearted comedy centering upon the child beauty pageant industry in America. Avoiding a dark or sinister depiction [which critics of the film, mindful of the still unsolved murder of JonBenet Ramsey in 1996 might have advocated] Dayton and Faris instead make fun of the absurdity and inappropriateness of such competitions.

At the heart of the drama is the dysfunctional Hoover family. Grandpa [Alan Arkin] is a hard drug- taking, porn-reading degenerate, Dad, Richard [Greg Kinnear] a motivational teacher. Mom, Sheryl [Toni Collette] is a long-suffering, level-headed wife and mother. Son Dwayne [Paul Dano] is a Nietzsche-reading mute, having taken a vow of silence. Uncle, Frank [Steve Carrell] is a gay Proust academic, recovering from a suicide attempt, and Olive [Abigail Breslin] the 7-year-old heroine of the piece, determined against all the obvious odds to enter the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant.

In what is essentially a road movie, the family embark upon their journey to take Olive to her pageant, in a clapped out but resplendent sunshine yellow VW bus, ultimately uniting the family in adversity. Never sentimental, with unexpected plot twists and some great one-liners, this is a funny and enjoyable film, to brighten a November evening! N.F.

Olive Hoover – Abigail Breslin
Richard Hoover – Greg Kinnear
Sheryl Hoover – Toni Collette
Grandpa Edwin Hoover – Alan Arkin
Dwayne – Paul Dano
Director – Jonathan Dayton / Valerie Faris
Screenwriter – Michael Amdt
Producer – Albert Berger
Cinematography – Tim Surstedt
Music – Mychael Danna/DeVotchKa


“Brilliant, hilarious, entertaining”

“Hilarious, wonderful, refreshing”

“A good laugh”

“A good laugh is just what we needed.”

“A real tonic!”

“I liked the running gag!”

“Thank you for choosing such a clever and fun film to cheer (up) a gloomy day.”

“Hilarious! Some welcome sunshine after the miserable weather outside to-day.”

“Haven’t enjoyed a road movie so much for a long time.”

“One of the funniest films I have ever seen! It was funny but had some meaning, too. An absolute winner!!”

“A film with everything – most enjoyable”

“Wonderfully anarchic! It was like Sideways without the alcohol but even funnier. More films like this, please.”

“Great! US comedy at its best!”

“I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. The Americans ‘do’ humour so well! Thanks a lot for showing it.”

“Even better seeing it for the second time in a year – terrific fun”

“Completely engaging – made a point and was laugh-out-loud funny. Top points all round.”

“Really entertaining. Let’s have some more comedies like this.”

“A wonderfully painless way to learn about some important issues – the Meaning of Life, and so on. Lovely performances.”

“Many great philosophers have underestimated how important it is to be silly sometimes. It’s nice to see a silly celebration.”

“Wonderfully politically incorrect – I wondered slightly how the little girl would turn out.”

“What a wonderful, wacky movie, cocking a snook at those awful American (beauty) pageants!”

“As I lay dying in 21 C (temperatures in) California … Witty and enjoyable.”

“What a happy camper [van]!”

“How did this get in the programme? Film as entertainment – what ever next ??”


A:13, B:4, C:1, D:0, E:0 to give 92%