Movie Review: Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Little Miss SunshineLittle Miss Sunshine (Rated M)

Starring Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette and Steve Carell

I’ve been meaning to see this movie for a while. It’s one of those movies that gets a bit of a cool reputation while not achieving box office gold. What’s it about? Six family members in a Kombi on their way to a beauty pageant. Well, that’s the plot. But what is the movie really about?

Greg Kinnear plays Richard, the dad of the family, who is trying to make it big as a motivational speaker. His wife, Sheryl (Toni Collette) is the loving matriarch. Edwin, the foul mouth grandpa, thrown out of his retirement home. Dwayne, the teenage son, has fallen in love with the writings of Nietzsche and has taken a vow of silence. Frank, Sheryl’s brother, has just survived a suicide attempt as is staying with the family. And 7 year old Olive, who dreams of being a Beauty Pageant Queen and has just made it to the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant in California. The pageant is in two days, so the whole family piles into the van and start their journey.

Hilarity, and most importantly, growth, ensue.

What we notice from the start is that while these six individuals are related, they are not a family. They are six separate individuals living under the same roof. They lead different lives and are in some ways ignorant of what is going on in the lives of the others.

But at the end of the movie we have a family. We have a single unit working together. Once individuals, they pull together and support each other. Why the change?

The most important difference is that these people are forced to be together. They are travelling cross country in a confined space. They can’t hide from each other. They are forced to talk. They are forced to relate. Even Dwayne, the silent teen, breaks down and is forced to communicate with his family.

It made me think… As a Church, are we a group of individuals or one body? Do we lead our separate lives, ignorant and unknowing of what is going on in the lives of our spiritual brothers and sisters? Or do we love our Christian family so much that we seek to share our very lives with each other. That’s what Paul did with the Thessalonians. “We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us” (1 Thes 2:8). Do we need to work harder at communicating with our Christian family and growing in relationship with each other, instead of being Sunday consumers and seeing what we can get out of Church?

I enjoyed this movie. You might too. It might also be useful for a HSC journey’s topic.

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About Joel A Moroney

Associate Minister at St Luke's Anglican Church, Liverpool (in the Sydney Diocese). A very strange man, but he usually has Pez, so that makes it okay.
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