Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 American black comedy-drama road film and the directorial film debut of the husband-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The screenplay was written by first-time writer Michael Arndt. The film stars Greg Kinnear, Steve Carell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin and Alan Arkin, and was produced by Big Beach Films on a budget of US$8 million. Filming began on June 6, 2005 and took place over 30 days in Arizona and Southern California.
The film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2006, and its distribution rights were bought by Fox Searchlight Pictures for one of the biggest deals made in the history of the festival. The film had a limited release in the United States on July 26, 2006, and later expanded to a wider release starting on August 18.
Little Miss Sunshine had an international box office gross of $100.5 million. The film was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture, and won two: Best Original Screenplay for Michael Arndt and Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin. It also won the Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature and received numerous other accolades.
I friggin’ love this movie, this is a great independent comedy with a lot of great performances and surprisingly, a lot of heart.
This was one of the first real independent movies I went out of my way to check out in a theater and I’m glad I did, the movie definitely has a lot of great elements to it.
The cast is fantastic, Greg Kinnear & Toni Collette give great strong performances, Abigail Breslin is amazing in this movie making a great leading film debut, but the biggest highlights are Paul Dano, who really doesn’t talk much in this but has such a great persona to his character in this that you can’t take your eyes off of him. Another big highlight is Steve Carell, this was his first major dramatic role after many years as a comedic actor and my god, years before he was nominated for Foxcatcher, the dude showed he had the potential to be a great dramatic actor here. The last big highlight of the cast is Alan Arkin, who actually won an Oscar for his role in this, playing the grandfather, he’s great in this movie and he deserved to win the Oscar.
I also liked how the whole movie builds up to provide some great social commentary on the whole concept of kiddie beauty pageants and the ending of the movie is one of the most satisfying conclusions for a movie ever.
It’s a shame that the two directors, Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Farris, have not done too much directing work since, the only other effort has been the equally as enjoyable Ruby Sparks, but Little Miss Sunshine is one of the quirkest, funniest, and most heartwarming comedies of recent memory, you are definitely doing yourself a huge disservice by missing out on this.
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