Sunshine State Reviews

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Jeff Vice
Deseret News, Salt Lake City
August 9, 2002
As expected, Sayles' smart wordplay and clever plot contrivances are as sharp as ever, though they may be overshadowed by some strong performances.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Top Critic
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
August 9, 2002
Sunshine State is an efficient helping of Sayles, insightful even when it's not richly entertaining or imbued with apparent passion.
| Original Score: B-
Top Critic
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
August 9, 2002
Sunshine State has the structure, the theme, the style and, at 141 minutes, the length of a great John Sayles film. What it doesn't have, alas, is the merit.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
Jeffrey Bruner
Des Moines Register
August 8, 2002
The sand and soil provide merely the foundation for Sayles' engrossing story about class and race, the search for redemption and the impact of life's decisions.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/5
Jeet Thayil
Rediff.com
August 6, 2002
Edie Falco sparkles as a mermaid on dry land
Top Critic
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
August 2, 2002
This is geographic history as personal history, a look at a vanishing world before the tide of progress immerses it. It's also superb independent filmmaking.
| Original Score: 4/5
Elias Savada
Nitrate Online
August 2, 2002
One of the most original American productions this year, you'll find yourself remembering this refreshing visit to a Sunshine State.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
Phil Villarreal
Arizona Daily Star
August 2, 2002
Sayles has an eye for the ways people of different ethnicities talk to and about others outside the group.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Gerry Shamray
Your Movies (cleveland.com)
August 1, 2002
The story feels more like a serious read, filled with heavy doses of always enticing Sayles dialogue.
| Original Score: 4/5
Eugene Novikov
Film Blather
July 30, 2002
[Sayles] so desperately wants to tell when all he needs to do is show.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
Duane Dudek
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
July 25, 2002
Successful as a simple series of intimate moments and vivid performances.
| Original Score: 3/4
Top Critic
James Berardinelli
ReelViews
July 25, 2002
Sunshine State lacks the brilliance of Sayles' most dynamic offerings, but, for those who don't mind an unhurried, deliberate narrative pace, this is a worthwhile offering.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Joe Baltake
Sacramento Bee
July 19, 2002
Sayles' approach to his material can be archly didactic, but then there's Bassett and especially Falco, who both bring lived-in qualities to their roles.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
Shawn Levy
Oregonian
July 19, 2002
It's ambitious, sharply observed and spectacularly well-acted like so much of Sayles' canon. But it's also overstuffed and underdeveloped.
Chris Hewitt (St. Paul)
St. Paul Pioneer Press
July 18, 2002
[Sayles] often underlines his Big Themes ... and his camera is usually static, as if to say, 'Quiet, please. There are actors acting.' Or, rather, Acting.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
Jim Lane
Sacramento News & Review
July 15, 2002
When Sayles is on top of his game he's not to be missed. Sunshine State is Sayles at his best.
Full Review | Original Score: 5/5
Marshall Fine
Journal News (Westchester, NY)
July 15, 2002
Like the best novels and films, it is about human lives in transition, with individuals mirroring the larger society as a whole.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
Laura Bushell
BBC.com
July 14, 2002
A humane and moving film with real life values.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5
Top Critic
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
July 12, 2002
You can ignore the editorial bluntness and savor the smaller, sweeter details.
Top Critic
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
July 12, 2002
A densely layered, always absorbing whole.
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