Posted on 2/04/12 03:07 AM
It's not just a matter of being a human being, but of constantly becoming one.
Most of us amateur reviewers would, after some indurate arm twisting, and possibly an inspiring comment or two, tend to agree that we love to critique blockbusters such as AVATAR, NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, TROY, and the like, for that is the very situ, we staunchly trust, where our manifest glory, and the rich underbelly of our chosen but dubious profession, will one day be realized(sic).
Then, once in a while, along comes a unique motion picture we are fully prepared to ignore or relegate to the chick-flick genre, if there truly is one. SUNSHINE CLEANING, however, no matter how hard we manipulate the branding iron, should make the astute among us sit-up and take notice.
To be sure, it is a relatively small film but with a great director, a wonderful script and very big performances from two very fine actresses, the lovely Amy Adams and Emily Blunt:
When single mom Rose Lorkowsky( Adams)discovers that her eight year old autistic son(Jason Spevak) needs to change schools( because he has taken to licking walls and women's legs) at a considerable increase in the cost of tuition, simply proclaiming that her disposition would be livid is an understatement. She doesn't have the money, and her job as a maid doesn't pay much. Conversely, her desultory sister, Nora Lorkowsky ( Blunt), a somewhat sexually precocious young female, is of no help at all. At the time, that girl is in the very act of having sex with a nondescript slob(or so it appears)-when Rose calls to reveal that she has found a new way of keeping bread on the table- and quickly extricates herself from the insipid fellow humping her just propitiously enough to answer the phone. This scene may seem prurient and even lascivious but it is hardly that according to today's Hollywood standards.
Rose has discovered that there is money to be made in the Crime Scene cleanup service, a type of biohazard removal of blood and semen and guts and gore(ugh), to which the girls eagerly apply themselves now.
The script of SUNSHINE CLEANING was superbly written by Megan Holly. In fact, there were times I turned off the video portion of the flick and merely paid attention to the audio. It is simply that great. The movie has many remarkable incidents, let me just touch on one or two.
As the boy, Oscar Lorkowsky, is being taken to a new school, flanked by his aunt and mom, he turns to Nora and asks, "What is a bastard? Jeremy has called me a bastard."
(I am not quoting this dialogue ipsissima verba but only as best as I am able to recall.)
With a slight smirk, Nora replies, "It's not a big deal. You're bastard because your father didn't marry your mother. But you're a nice bastard, and it's the first step to being cool."
Biohazard cleaning is a succinct and demanding science. When Rose Lorkowsky decides to take a short hiatus from her arduous and precarious existence to attend a baby shower, her sister, having to work alone, of course, inadvertently burns down the house of a crime scene, and obviously increases the Lorkowsky's huge debt. Alan Arkin, as always, is distinguishing himself as the Lorkowsky sisters' bumbling and unemployed father, Joe Lorkowsky, who fails to make a killing in the shrimp business and eventually joins the crime scene cleaning vocation.
In this film, Amy Adams and Emily Blunt put to rest the fear of all those who may have questioned the acting ability of today's bland starlets. Their performances are singular, distinguished and far above the average. And they are in good company. As already pointed out, Alan Arkin is at his very best, and Clifton Collins Jr as Winston, the friendly one-armed supplier of biohazard cleaning paraphernalia, is also deserving of kudos.
For someone who is not familiar with the machinations or the social implications of a nine to five job, SUNSHINE CLEANING was an eye-opener for me, and an exceedingly rewarding motion picture.
I truly recommend this one to all of my RT friends.