Saturday, December 16, 2006

Movie: Little Miss Sunshine

Something about the trailers suggested this was a simple honest flick with some good laughs and maybe even – just maybe – a little dose of a rare something I like to call… character development. And indeed these qualities came to be.

Boy – I like to harp on character development don’t I? Do I seem to judge films by literary standards? You may have a point there but can you blame me? I suggest that there are common core elements to all forms of storytelling and character development is chief among them. Why?

While no single element is necessarily essential in making a story worthwhile, I say the ideal story uses strong developed characters to reveal the creator’s insight into human nature. This, I feel, lies very close the core purpose of art. To trade perspectives on humanity. How else may we begin to understand it? And what more critical pursuit is there in life than to discover who we are – if, as I do – you believe that the human being is the most miraculous of entities in the known universe yet one of the least understood?

Will Little Miss Sunshine unlock the secrets of humanity? Of course not. Not on its own. But for those of us out there collecting the millions of clues - there are a couple here. The characters are over the top, granted, but still fall in the realm of the plausible – as do the plot elements.

This movie is a breath of fresh air. It’s solidly funny and entertaining from start to finish without resorting to the inane slapstick or supernatural action sequences that pollute the majority of mainstream American movies.

The heroes are plenty and are all loveable. Empathy abounds. There’s a clear message to this film and granted, it’s a tired old one. But it’s a valuable one – especially to young people – and can surely stand to be repeated now and then.

Had I watched the movie with the intention to critique it later – I would probably have stored up a lot of criticisms for later regurgitation. Luckily I don’t operate that way. Only after the fact might it occur to me to blog a movie. And I suspect this may bear relevance to the fatal flaw of movie critics. By watching a film with analytical intentions one seizes on an apparent flaw before finding out whether it mattered or not.

If you like to laugh and love and feel good – this film will do it for you. I think that’s enough of what matters to make it worthwhile. Go out of your way to watch it.


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