Sunshine Cleaning


Sunshine Cleaning

Critics Consensus

Despite a sometimes overly familiar plot, Sunshine Cleaning benefits from the lively performances of its two stars.



Reviews Counted: 172

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 180,647


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Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.3/5

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Movie Info

A thirtysomething single mother whose boundless potential was squandered through a series of failed relationships and a misguided effort to help her younger sister succeed in life finds the fruits of her labors finally coming together in director Christine Jeffs' dark family comedy. Back in high school, the future looked pretty bright for Rose Lorkowski (Amy Adams); not only was she the cheerleading captain, but she was also dating the star quarterback. Flash forward a little over a decade, and Rose is working overtime in hopes of getting her son into a better school. Her sister, Norah (Emily Blunt), is still living at home with their father, Joe (Alan Arkin), a failed salesman whose penchant for jumping into get-rich-quick schemes has left the family without a financial net to fall back on. Rose may be down, but she certainly isn't out, and when she hatches a plan to launch a crime-scene cleanup business, the money starts rolling in. Sure, cleaning up murder scenes and suicide sites may not be the most glamorous job in the world, but death is a fairly profitable business, and as the phone keeps ringing, Rose and Norah finally begin to experience the closeness of sisterhood that has eluded them all these years while also providing their family with true security. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi

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Critic Reviews for Sunshine Cleaning

All Critics (172) | Top Critics (43)

Jeffs makes a good fist of the direction and Blunt proves that she can do comedy, but it's Adams's comforting, charismatic central turn which really gives the film its lift.

Jul 3, 2009 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

It's worthwhile just for Adams and Blunt, a partnership made in movie heaven.

Jun 19, 2009 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

Taken on its own terms, though, it's a solid indie effort with plenty of nice character strokes by screenwriter Megan Holley and razor-sharp performances by Amy Adams and Emily Blunt.

May 29, 2009 | Full Review…

Sunshine Cleaning is one of those dependent independent films -- dependent on the need to be "quirky" yet "heartfelt" too, and as much a slave to the formulaic as any Hollywood product.

Mar 27, 2009 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

Adams and Blunt rise above the clunky premise and execution to once again demonstrate why they've become the go-to girls for any director seeking smart, versatile and warm-blooded talent.

Mar 27, 2009 | Rating: 2.5/4 | Full Review…

Its overall ability to balance humor and drama, attention to emotional detail and a few winning performances outweighs its maudlin tendencies.

Mar 26, 2009 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Sunshine Cleaning

three stars

MisterYoda ?
MisterYoda ?

Super Reviewer


Another well-portrayed Amy Adams character lights up this bleak slice of life, and the story about taking pride in yourself and your work shines through. With the hand they've been dealt, the Norkowski sisters (Adams, as Rose, and Emily Blunt as Nora) have every right to lie down and give up, but when an unorthodox opportunity knocks - an opportunity to go into business cleaning up violent crime scenes - the sisters relaunch themselves, and turn their lives in the right direction, though things can't stay sunny the whole way... can they? It's a decent movie overall, tugging hard (sometimes too hard) on our proverbial heartstrings, and leaving a few major questions unanswered, but it's a realistic, somewhat uplifting piece with an edge. A nice surprise.

Daniel Perry
Daniel Perry

Super Reviewer

A very good film in the vein of such films as Little Miss Sunshine, Sunshine Cleaning is a charming and funny drama comedy film with a good cast. The film has a great story and the actors deliver wonderful, amusing performances. Sunshine Cleaning is the perfect example of an Indie film gets it right, using a simple story. Most indie films try to go overboard with the dialogue, story and acting, but Sunshine Cleaning has a perfect balance of everything that makes a good little film. This may not be a perfect film, however for the most part; it's a wonderfully executed film with great performances by Amy Adams and Emily Blunt. Along with King of California, Sunshine Cleaning is one of the best indie comedies to come out in quite some time. I very much enjoyed this film, and thought that the story was just great. The film succeeds on all levels at being a well rounded out drama comedy, and with the performances alone by the cast, Sunshine Cleaning is worth seeing. If you happen to come across this film at your local video store, give it a rent, you'll be surprised at how good it is. Sunshine Cleaning is a great little comedy film that blends dramatic elements very well. I thought that the story though a bit slow had enough momentum to keep me intrigued and entertained. If you're looking for a great indie comedy, give Sunshine Cleaning a view, this is a film worth watching. Brilliantly acted and directed.

Alex roy
Alex roy

Super Reviewer


The comparison between this tragic-comedy and "Little Miss Sunshine" is not entirely unjustified. Here we also have very lovable yet slightly dysfunctional characters, Alan Arkin is even reprising his role as (not quite as grumpy) grandpa. The two leading ladies easily fill their roles with life, easily making you care for their little business idea of cleaning up death sites. The biggest surprise of the film is Clifton Collins, who mostly played gangsters and killers so far and delivers a really likable performance as one-armed clerk. The script is smart, sweet and sad, but never takes it too far with the quirkiness. Even though nothing insanely exciting happens it is fun to follow those characters around for a while and you can't help but wish them nothing but the best. sadly, the film ends somewhat abruptly, when you would have seen a bit more of a solution for them. Still, very entertaining and lovable.

Jens S.
Jens S.

Super Reviewer

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