Sibling Rivalry

Article excerpt

EUDING sisters rediscover life amid the detritus of the recently deceased in Christine Jeffs' portrait of dysfunctional family life.

Set against the strip malls and desert of Albuquerque, Sunshine Cleaning picks at the emotional wounds of its world-weary characters and bleeds them dry of the years of jealousy and anger, which have festered beneath the surface.

In the process, painful home truths spark newfound respect and a greater closeness, flecked with earthy humour and romance. Screenwriter Megan Holley sketches the protagonists in detail, nurturing them through the various trials and tribulations until they achieve some form of personal healing.

Oscar nominee Amy Adams and Emily Blunt are spookily well-matched as the chalk-and-cheese siblings who always end up at loggerheads.

The actresses adopt similar speech patterns and mannerisms, and even look uncannily alike, as their heroines seek fulfilment by setting up a most unusual cleaning service.

Rose Lorkowski (Adams) was once the captain of her school's cheerleading squad and the envy of her classmates. Now, she is a 30-something single mother trying to take care of her impressionable young son Oscar.

Rose works long hours as a cleaner for little pay while her doddering get-rich-quick salesman father Joe (Alan Arkin) searches for the next big scam. His ridiculous schemes often involve Oscar, who is expelled from his school on account of his anti-social behaviour. While Rose toils night and day, her slacker sister Norah (Blunt) is fired from one job after another.

She is far more content to lie in bed all day and let life pass her by. …