little-miss-sunshine-nov-13th“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 24 September 2009


USA 2006 99 minutes Cert 15

Abingdon College and District Film Society WELCOMES all new members who have come along tonight for this pre-season special FREE screening of ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ . We hope you will return for the rest of the season and we hope you will find it as varied and thought provoking as previous years!

Little Miss Sunshine was the film debut from directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, and 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 drug taking porn reading degenerate. Dad [Greg Kinnear] a motivational speaker. Mom [Toni Collette] is the long suffering, level headed wife and mother. Son Dwayne [Paul Dano] is a Nietzche 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, a visual metaphor for uniting the family in adversity. Never sentimental, with unexpected plot twists and some great one-liners, this is a warm, funny and highly enjoyable film.

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


“A liberating film – especially [in] the finale.”

“Moving and very funny – I loved it!”

“After a second viewing, [this film] remains one of the best comedies of the decade, and still [with] the ability to never hear ‘Super Freak’ in the same way again.”

“My third viewing of this film but it’s still fresh and funny!”

“Even better the third time around.”

“Very slow to start with but it was very enjoyable.”


A:31, B:10, C:1, D:0, E:0 to give 93%