Gory Job Restores Hope in Hard Times
BYLINE: Review: BETSY SHARKEY
SUNSHINE CLEANING. Directed by Christine Jeffs, with Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steve Zahn, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Clifton Collins jun and Jason Spevack.
ON THE surface, Sunshine Cleaning, about a small-time crime scene clean-up crew in a crumbling corner of Albuquerque, is an offbeat and oddly endearing drama, leavened with just the right amount of comedy to even things out. But dig a bit deeper, and you uncover a smartly done morality tale that couldn't be more in sync with these troubled times.
With Amy Adams as Rose, a struggling single mother, and Emily Blunt as Norah, her younger sister caught in a free fall of her own, director Christine Jeffs has given us the sorts of faces that have mostly been forgotten these days - people and places already on the edge, hit by the one-two punch of bad|breaks and an unforgiving|economy that has left so many|reeling.
When we first see Rose, she's watching a better life than hers through an open window while she works. All the optimism the former prom queen tries to muster can't mask the sobering reality she faces.
Her days are spent cleaning other people's houses; her precocious young son is kicked out of school because she refuses to medicate him; the private school Oscar (Jason Spevack) needs, she can't afford; Mac (Steve Zahn), the married detective she's having an affair with, is not leaving his wife. …