About Sunny (2011)
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A loving mother struggling with her failings as a responsible parent is forced to examine her ethical boundaries in this independent drama from director Bryan Wizemann. Angela (Lauren Ambrose) is a single parent in her early thirties who looks after her eight-year-old daughter Sunny (Audrey Scott) while holding down two jobs in Las Vegas. Angela clearly cares for her daughter, but she has a hard time keeping a decent job, and her appetite for alcohol, drugs, and men occasionally leads her into bad decisions that set a regrettable example for her child. One of the few upsides to Angela's life is her friendship with Max (Dylan Baker), a sympathetic co-worker, and when Max and their boss Ted (David Conrad) offer to let Angela in on a fast-money scheme, she readily agrees, even though it takes her into legally and ethically questionable territory. Things go wrong, and Angela is forced to make a choice between her future and that of her daughter. Also starring Penelope Ann Miller, Think Of Me was an official selection at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival. … More
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Critic Reviews for About Sunny
This often feels like a European art movie in its naturalistic detail and propulsive editing, though writer-director Bryan Wizemann localizes this style with resourceful location work and sharp, idiomatic dialogue.
A showy vehicle for producer-star Lauren Ambrose, whose emotionally volatile character comes off as unsympathetic and practically bipolar, the overly contrived, hard-to-swallow script undermines viewer compassion.
It's a worthwhile recession-era drama built around a terrific performance.
A sad, wrenching but admirably unsentimental film about the bravery of the human condition that truly deserves a bigger audience.
The film's final panorama is a beauty and a marvel, a horizon where light may just be breaking, where traffic lights may stay green, where day is promised over the glittering, populated horizon.
Many viewers will lack the emotional fortitude (or cinematic masochism?) to withstand About Sunny. But for those who can, there is, at the center of its interminable sadness, a beautiful portrait of the sacrifice a mother will make for her child.
Lauren Ambrose has a career-high turn in Think of Me, writer-director Brian Wizemann's smart, suspenseful, intimate film.
This is a chilling and illuminating film. Too bad the ending feels hollow.
Audience Reviews for About Sunny
2012 INDEPENDENT SPIRIT AWARD NOMINEE - BEST ACTRESS: LAUREN AMBROSE
This low key study in desperation is made memorable only because of a great performance from its star, Lauren Ambrose. The story of a young mother who fumbles her way through lousy jobs while poorly attempting to feed her daughter crappy meals, THINK OF ME comes across as the ultimate tiny ambition "Sundance" indie. Set in a back alley Las Vegas, you know, where all the cigarettes get smoked and where the locals really live, Lauren Ambrose makes every moment count, despite the fact that not a whole lot happens here.
The ostensible plot has her character latching onto a shady investment opportunity from her boss, only to have it unravel before our eyes. Her lousy car keeps breaking down, a theft happens, lots of car services are called, and somewhat creepy acquaintances keep honing in on her cute daughter. Most of the events are ambiguous, giving us the feeling of a main character who lives in the moment, and makes every decision based on her gut. It's often fascinating to watch, as Ambrose imbues every scene with a guard-up sensibility. It's as if she wants everyone to believe she doesn't suffer fools, but when the chips are down, she's likely to go with whoever has the best offer for her immediate survival.
I'm not sure if I was rooting for her or not, but I definitely felt for her and the increasing toughness of her decisions. Writer/Director Bryan Wizemann nicely captures the look and rhythms of single motherhood with its warrior mentality competing with small moments of hedonism just to make it through another day. It's a shame this slight but fascinating film hasn't gotten more attention, because Lauren Ambrose has certainly taken her career to the next level here. She'll have a hard time getting more votes than Michelle Williams at the Spirit Awards, but if ever a character embodied indie spirit, it's this one.
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