Sunshine Cleaning is a delightful comedy and drama, with a great cast, a strong script by Megan Holley and crisp, clean direction by Christine Jeffs. Although it hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves, the two performances at the center of it by Amy Adams and Emily Blunt really propelled the two actresses to the acclaim they so richly deserve.
In Albuquerque, NM, Rose Lorkowski (Adams) is a single mother in her thirties, a former cheerleader who dated the captain of the football team, Mac (Steve Zahn), and was thought to have a bright future, yet she works as a house cleaner and is looked down on by all of her former classmates. She is still having an affair with Mac and he recommends that she could make a lot more money doing crime scene cleanup. Enlisting the help of her frustrated sister, Norah (Blunt), she dives in with no knowledge or understanding of the business.
As they work their way through a series of gross cleanups, they meet Winston (Clifton Collins, Jr.), who runs a special supply store and he helps them to become more professional. During one cleanup of a dead woman’s house, Norah finds a fanny pack filled with pictures of the woman’s child, Lynn (Mary Lynn Rajskub) and she sets out to find her. When she does, she can’t bring herself to tell Lynn what happened, but the two develop a friendship. Rose wants Mac to divorce his wife and marry her, but he balks.
The sisters were both children when their mother committed suicide and Rose, as the eldest, has strong memories of the event that traumatized both of them. Their father, Joe (Alan Arkin) has a series of money making schemes that always seem to fail, but he has a great relationship with Rose’s son, Oscar (Jason Spevack). He helps by babysitting the boy, who also develops a friendship with Winston.
Adams and Blunt provide both comedy and drama, showing a great range acting. Adams manages to be both very strong and very vulnerable at the same time, while Blunt is brilliant as the troubled little sister. All of the supporting roles are very well acted. The script is tight and lean, wasting no time on things that don’t matter. Everything ties in well. The directing and editing are terrific.
It is an extremely entertaining and well made movie. I highly recommend it!