This is no comedy. It inspires as many more tears as laughter. What it is is an amazing tour de force by three of the most accomplished actresses of their generation: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt and Mary Lynn Rajskub. Rose Lorkowski (Adams) is a single mom with a misunderstood child. Her sister Norah (Blunt) is a ne’er-do-well still living at home with their father Joe (Alan Arkin), a salesman who was never very successful at selling anything. Rose is having an affair with a married cop, Mac (Steve Zahn), who recommends that she quit her job as a maid and go into the crime scene clean-up business. It’s disgusting and bloody but Rose convinces Norah to go into it with her.
The result is intended, I guess, to be funny but this movie is much more poignant than funny. I might have chuckled a few times at Blunt, but tears welled more often than laughter tingling, as director Christine Jeffs has taken Megan Holley’s screenplay and turned it into a film whose main feature is the exceptional acting of the cast.
Adams, for my money, is the best actress to hit the silver screen since, well, since Edison invented the movies. Her facial expressions capture every emotion. I’ve never seen a better actress.
This is the story of middle-class people struggling to make ends meet. It’s not uplifting but it is entertaining. Producer Peter Saraf says it best, “People are going to want to see ‘Sunshine Cleaning’ primarily because it’s a great move with a phenomenal cast. It is a movie that is entertaining and has an emotional payoff. That’s what I, as a movie-goer, want. I want to come out feeling either energized or changed in some way, or just really looking at things in a new way. And along the way I want to laugh.”
I didn’t laugh much but I’m glad I took the journey.