Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

It’s snowy and crappy outside (gotta love the midwest), so I decided that today I’m going to stay inside and watch movies. I just got done watching an endearing, funny, and of course melancholy little dramedy, Little Miss Sunshine. This sweet short film features an innocent and motivated little girl who just wants to be in a beauty pageant. Her motivator and trainer is her drug-addicted sassy grandpa. The extraordinarily depressed and intelligent uncle comes to stay with the family after a suicide attempt. Also present is a try-hard father who means well, but often misses the mark. Then there is the downtrodden teen brother inspired by Nietzsche who of course hates everyone. Last but not least, there is the kind-hearted mother just trying to keep this little ship of a family afloat on stormy seas.

The characters in the family of Little Miss Sunshine at first seem to be cookie-cutter, but as the film goes on each character breaks out of the mold they were placed in at the beginning of the movie. I’d have to say that this story is now one of my favorite heartwarming journeys. It’s raw, real, but still keeps the humor flowing which is what I have found in my own life. No family is perfect, and Little Miss Sunshine makes that a point, but it is about finding the beauty in those imperfections that is important.

The film also shows that often in life, things don’t go as planned. You can have everything worked out, and usually, something will shake things up. But that doesn’t necessarily mean things are ruined. I find life to be like art and that makes me think of something that the painter Bob Ross used to say, “We don’t make mistakes, we have happy accidents.” Sure, it might not seem happy at the time, but something terrible happening can bring forth something spectacular down the road.

The final theme of the movie is to be who you are, no matter what that means or how imperfect it is. Go for what you want and find happiness in your way, not the way of others. Your life isn’t defined by just one of your talents or qualities, it is determined by everything combined, so if we try something and it doesn’t work out, that doesn’t mean we are worthless. We don’t find who we are or our meaning by searching for it, we forge it ourselves.

Little Miss Sunshine will leave you laughing, rolling your eyes, possibly crying, and with maybe just a touch of bittersweet melancholy. The wit is sharp, the characters each have their own flavor of humanity, and the modest adventure in the story is fantastic. I highly recommend this film if you are looking for a nice mix of melancholy and uplifting.



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