Ahh, family. Those people and your nose are two things you can’t pick.
Well, you can pick your nose, but you shouldn’t…at least not in public. Do it in private because you still need to remove the boogers. Just be careful to not stab your brain with your finger.
But I digress. BQB here with a review of “Little Miss Sunshine.”
Life is not perfect. People are not perfect. Families are not perfect. Somehow, we must find a way to struggle along and find happiness amongst the sadness rather than hope for a perfect day when everything and everyone will be perfect. That day rarely, if ever comes.
Such is the lesson of this little film.
Mom and Dad (Greg Kinnear and Toni Collette) are facing bankruptcy and their marriage is on the rocks. Uncle (Steve Carell) is suicidal over the collapse of his career and relationship. Big brother (Paul Dano) is a mopey little twerp who has taken a vow of silence. Grampa (Alan Arkin) is so depressed that he’s turned to drugs.
In short, everyone is depressed because their lives are less than perfect. Dad has squandered the family finances on a shady, fly-by-night attempt to become a motivational speaker. Brother’s depressed because his dream may not come true. Grampa is depressed because he’s old. Uncle is depressed because his boyfriend dumped him and he wonders if he’s wasted his life being the nation’s foremost Marcel Proust scholar. Mom is depressed because her family members stink.
Everyone in this film is depressed and yet, they all manage to unite in a common cause – to deliver little Olive (Abigail Breslin) to a beauty pageant in California. Olive is a little nerd and not exactly beauty pageant material, but competing is her dream and her family does not want to let her down.
What can we learn? Maybe we wallow in our sadness when our sadness only affects us. If someone else’s happiness is on the line, we can somehow muster up the courage to do great things, like take a cross country trip in a broken down van that can only shift into the proper gear when it is pushed up a hill and then allowed to roll down in a turning motion. Oh, and also the horn is stuck so all other motorists think the driver is being a dick and honking at them, so they honk back furiously.
Your life isn’t perfect. The tools you need to fix your life are rarely perfect (i.e. things you need, like the family van, will break down at the worst possible moment) and yet somehow when the chips are down, we can find a way to help those we love. The family members are sad, miserable and depressed yet they all love Olive and are willing to move mountains for her.
If only we could muster up that courage to pull ourselves out of depression?
Ignoring idea of perfection and enjoying an imperfect life is the overall theme of the movie, and while that is scene in the family road trip, it is also seen in the pageant itself. Little girls made up to look like beauty queens (sickening) leaving Olive looking as though she is some kind of weirdo for even daring to get on the same stage, and yet the little girl has a lot of heart and is perfect in her own way. Or perfect in her imperfection.