Sunshine Cleaning (2009)

Genre(s): Comedy
Anchor Bay || R - 91 minutes - $29.98 || August 25, 2009
Reviewer: Tyler Thomas || Posted On: 2009-09-07

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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

.:: V I D E O ::.

.:: A U D I O ::.

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Director: Christine Jeffs
Writer(s): Megan Holley (written by)
Cast: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin, Steven Zahn

Theatrical Release Date: March 27, 2009

Supplemental Material:
  • Feature Commentary
  • Featurette

Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.40)
  • English (Dolby Surround 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Rose (Amy Adams) is a struggling maid trying to make ends meet. Her son Oscar (Jason Spevack) is constantly getting in trouble at school, and gets kicked out for constantly licking everything in sight, including a teacherís leg. She is sleeping around with Mac (Steve Zach), a married police officer with one kid and another on the way shortly. One day while theyíre meeting Mac says that she should get into the business of cleaning up dead bodies since it pays really well compared to what sheís doing now. Rose takes the idea and decides to run with it and she asks her recently fired sister Norah (Emily Blunt) for help with the endeavor. The two sisters bond overtime with the business, and eventually make a ton of money because of it.

Norah gets attached though to one of the houses they clean up, and decides to try and find the daughter of the mom who recently died there. She finds Lynn (Mary Lynn Rajskub) but instead of outright telling her why sheís talking to her, she plays it off and the two become somewhat of lovers awkwardly enough. Meanwhile, Joe (Alan Arkin), the sisterís father, tries to raise Oscar right by getting him involved in some get-rich-quick schemes that fail, such as one with shrimp. He wants to get the money to get Oscar some binoculars for his birthday, but ultimately he knows it wonít happen much to Oscarís chagrin.

Rose knows that sleeping with a married guy is wrong, and eventually grows strong enough to leave Mac and find a man of her own, who we are left to assume is Winston (Clifton Collins Jr.). He owns a cleaning supply shop and helps Rose out with her problems in life and with the cleaning business, which is of course until one day when Rose abandons her job and Norah is left to fend on her own at a house. Norah accidentally burns down the house theyíre doing a cleaning at and the business is ruined. Can Rose and Norah patch things up and move on, or will the two recently reunited sisters fight until the end of time?

I must say, I found this movie to be quite clever and entertaining. There arenít a lot of joke jokes here, but the ones that are do tend to make people chuckle. The film has a much more serious overtone to it, and a lot of real-life situations (cheating with a married man, struggling to pay the bills for a child, etc) that will strike home to some people. Itís an enjoyable film except for one major flaw that made me want to give this flick a zero instead of four stars.

That problem? The ending, it completely blows. Thatís putting it mildly too, as I hated the ending. As soon as I heard the music coming on I literally said ďif they end it like this I will be so angry,Ē and they did. The ending is just awful, and leaves way too much interpretation out there for the viewer. There were a few points where I would have been happy if it had ended, but the way it did end was horrible. Plus, I was hoping for an alternate ending or some deleted scenes for the character development of Lynn, Norah, or just anyone and we get nothing. Itís hard to just an ending this bad without more scenes.

I loved this film, minus the last three minutes. There are several points where you can just hit stop on your remote and the movie will be a five-star flick. If you choose not to, then judge accordingly as Iím being as honest as possible, the dang ending ruined it for me.


Commentary by Megan Holley and Glenn Williamson: The two arenít the best to do a commentary on a film on, mainly because they tend to drag on and talk about things you probably wonít be that interested in. Williamson has a monotone voice, and Holley isnít exactly a cheerful commentator either.

Fresh Look at a Dirty Business (11 minutes): The cast and crew give interviews about the film, their characters, and everything else in-between. Itís somewhat entertaining, but I would recommend just passing on watching it as you wonít learn anything interesting about the flick.


Even though this is sort of an indie film per say, the transfer on this one still looks phenomenal. The colors are vibrant, and nearly every scene that is outside is gorgeous to view. However and yes you knew I was going to say something bad soon, the problem is within the indoor shots. There is a bit of distortion and grain that plagues several of the in-house parts of the film, and it does take away from the greatness of the outdoor shots to be honest. Especially in the motel room scenes, you can literally see every line of distortion and noise, but itís not too big of a deal unless you are looking right for it. There werenít any real issues with contrast though, so thatís a plus. This is a fine looking transfer, if you can get past the noise and distortion parts of it.

The Dolby Surround 5.1 track that accompanies the flick does the job right, but not in any sort of demo-material way. Dialogue levels are constant and sound how they should, but surround use is limited at best. There isnít any sort of action scenes at all during the entire runtime of the film, as though this is sort of a comedy film. The levels themselves though sounded loud and booming for the voices, and I didnít have any issues with clarity from the cast when lines were spoken. This is a great track for a comedy, but not one to go showing off to your friends anytime soon.


Sunshine Cleaning is a light-hearted comedy with just the right amount of serious touch needed to make it a phenomenal flick. Itís a great movie from start to finish, but the problem lies within the finish. It leaves too many unanswered questions and made me hate the film because of it. The video and audio are above-average, but the technical package is weak with only a commentary and a lame featurette. Regardless though, I suggest a purchase as this is one sunshine you may want to see more than once.