• PG-13, 2 hr. 21 min.
  • Drama
  • Directed By:
    John Sayles
    In Theaters:
    Jun 21, 2002 Wide
    On DVD:
    Nov 19, 2002
  • Sony Pictures Classics


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Sunshine State Reviews

Geoff Andrew
Time Out
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February 9, 2006
Jeff Strickler
Minneapolis Star Tribune
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November 6, 2002
Peter Howell
Toronto Star
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Sunshine State resembles Sayles' sketchbook more than his finished work, and we might hope that something more polished might spring from it.

Full Review Source: Toronto Star | Original Score: 3/5

August 9, 2002
Rick Groen
Globe and Mail
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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 Source: Globe and Mail | Original Score: 2.5/4

August 9, 2002
Robert Denerstein
Denver Rocky Mountain News
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Sunshine State is an efficient helping of Sayles, insightful even when it's not richly entertaining or imbued with apparent passion.

| Original Score: B-

August 9, 2002
Roger Moore
Orlando Sentinel
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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

August 2, 2002

Arizona Republic
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August 2, 2002
James Berardinelli
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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 Source: ReelViews | Original Score: 3/4

July 25, 2002

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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July 19, 2002
Desson Thomson
Washington Post
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You can ignore the editorial bluntness and savor the smaller, sweeter details.

July 12, 2002
Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
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A densely layered, always absorbing whole.

July 12, 2002
John Hartl
Seattle Times
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The script overcomes its initial awkwardness and builds toward a climax that is as satisfying as it is open-ended.

Full Review Source: Seattle Times | Original Score: 3/4

July 12, 2002
Eric Harrison
Houston Chronicle
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Sayles' movies lack the fluidity and grace of Altman at his best, but his 'big statement' films -- and this is one -- demand our attention.

Full Review Source: Houston Chronicle | Original Score: A-

July 12, 2002
Susan Stark
Detroit News
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Count on his movie to work at the back of your neck long after you leave the theater.

| Original Score: 3/4

July 12, 2002
Terry Lawson
Detroit Free Press
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At times, Sayles seems to be trying to wrangle an ornery alligator. But there are few filmmakers better at rendering the political personal.

Full Review Source: Detroit Free Press | Original Score: 3/4

July 12, 2002
Steven Rosen
Denver Post
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Sunshine State is a fine example of a carefully written film. But you shouldn't be too aware that a movie is well-written.

Full Review Source: Denver Post | Original Score: 2.5/4

July 12, 2002
Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
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Because we are so familiar with the conventional approach to a story like this, it takes time to catch on that Sayles is not repeating the old progressive line about the little guy against big capital.

Full Review Source: Chicago Sun-Times | Original Score: 3.5/4

July 12, 2002
Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
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The cast is uniformly excellent and relaxed.

Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News | Original Score: A-

July 11, 2002
Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
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Rings true for the most part, and explores human nature -- leashed and unleashed -- in ways that resonate.

| Original Score: 3/4

July 11, 2002
Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
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A movie that sends you out of the theater feeling like you've actually spent time living in another community.

Full Review Source: Miami Herald | Original Score: 3/4

July 11, 2002
Michael Wilmington
Chicago Tribune
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It's the kind of movie that, aside from Robert Altman, Spike Lee, the Coen Brothers and a few others, our moviemakers don't make often enough.

Full Review Source: Chicago Tribune | Original Score: 3.5/4

July 11, 2002
Lisa Schwarzbaum
Entertainment Weekly
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Sunshine State surveys the landscape and assesses the issues with a clear passion for sociology. But the cinematography is cloudy, the picture making becalmed.

Full Review Source: Entertainment Weekly | Original Score: C+

July 2, 2002
Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
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Writer-director John Sayles is too intelligent and too conscientious ever to make a frivolous movie. But he has made a lifeless one with Sunshine State.

Full Review Source: San Francisco Chronicle | Original Score: 2/4

June 28, 2002
Sam Allis
Boston Globe
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Neither the acting nor the script elevates the film above a ham-fisted morality play dripping with earnestness.

Full Review Source: Boston Globe | Original Score: 2/4

June 28, 2002
Richard Roeper
Ebert & Roeper
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Sunshine State is one of the strongest efforts yet in the prolific career of writer/director John Sayles.

Full Review Source: Ebert & Roeper

June 25, 2002
Andrew Sarris
New York Observer
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Very well-written and very well-acted.

Full Review Source: New York Observer

June 25, 2002
John Anderson
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With Sunshine State, the question isn't so much what you want, but what you can stand.

Full Review Source: Newsday | Original Score: 2/4

June 21, 2002
Hazel-Dawn Dumpert
L.A. Weekly
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If Sayles had maneuvered these stories and performances into even a shade more sentimentality or gravitas, the weight would have collapsed them like a house of cards. As it is, they breathe easily.

Full Review Source: L.A. Weekly

June 21, 2002
Jonathan Foreman
New York Post
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Wonderfully acted but underedited ensemble piece.

| Original Score: 3/4

June 21, 2002
Stephanie Zacharek
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Sodden and glum, even in those moments where it's supposed to feel funny and light.

Full Review Source: Salon.com

June 20, 2002
Stephen Holden
New York Times
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It creates a cinematic mosaic of American lives unprecedented in its range, balance, subtlety and even-handedness.

Full Review Source: New York Times | Original Score: 4/5

June 20, 2002
Kenneth Turan
Los Angeles Times
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Even if it pushes its agenda too forcefully, this remains a film about something, one that attempts and often achieves a level of connection and concern.

Full Review Source: Los Angeles Times | Original Score: 3.5/5

June 20, 2002
Jessica Winter
Village Voice
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The whole of Sunshine State is less than the sum of its parts, but the parts are often lovely, and always true.

Full Review Source: Village Voice

June 19, 2002
Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
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You can feel the heat that ignites this gripping tale, and the humor and humanity that root it in feeling.

| Original Score: 4/5

June 5, 2002
David Hunter
Hollywood Reporter
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Sayles and an excellent cast examine modern American lives, values, dreams and shortcomings with verve, honesty and a respect for the seemingly lost art of everyday conversation.

May 19, 2002
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