When it comes to movies that are labeled as "indy" movies, one sometimes has to be careful. Yes, they often show a unique perspective or tackle an unpopular idea. Sometimes, though, they are tedious and preachy. (The Constant Gardener comes to mind.) Then there are some that are gems. Sunshine Cleaning is one of these. It’s the story of Rose Lorkowski, played by Amy Adams, who needs to raise money to send her son to a private school, so she starts a crime-scene cleaning business with her sister, Norah, played by Emily Blunt.
Both of the girls are initially clueless about what’s involved in cleaning crime scenes. They make quite a few mistakes, and do some things that are plain grotesque. Yet it brings them together. Their father gets involved, mostly as a baby-sitter for Rose’s son. Sunshine Cleaning really is about family, and how they deal with each other while trying to handle problems in their own lives.
Amy Adams does an excellent job of playing a single mother–gone is the wide-eyed naivete that she shows in Enchanted and the effervescent selfishness in Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day. Here she is harassed, embarrassed by her own life, courageous, and sympathetic. Emily Blunt is also excellent as Norah, the younger sister who is always screwing up. She conveys depth and vulnerability without saying much.
I would recommend Sunshine Cleaning to anyone who wants to watch a movie about family and false friends, honesty and courage, and life and death. It is a well-done, enjoyable movie. In fact, I think I’m going to buy it when I get a chance.