A Few Thoughts on ‘Little Miss Sunshine’


Maggie [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Abigail Breslin played Olive Hoover in Little Miss Sunshine

Victoria Gong, Managing Editor

“Little Miss Sunshine” is one of those movies you talk about on a first date, and if the person you’re with has seen it and calls it anything short of “spectacular,” you never speak to them again afterwards. (On the other hand, if the person you’re with hasn’t seen it, then you’re in business for a second date.)

The best place to watch “Little Miss Sunshine,” though, is in Dr. Easterling’s Intro to American Film class, one leg up in one of those Hooper Auditorium chairs that won’t stop swiveling or squeaking, alternating between hugging your knee tight in suspense and sprawling across the desk in uncontrollable laughter. This way, you get to learn about how the movie was shot in order over the course of only 30 days; or that the “bus” is somehow a character as well; or that the abode colors of New Mexico cities apparently makes them some of the most beautiful in the world; or that the film’s ending was redone just weeks before it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival (which we should all be eternally grateful for, because said ending is phenomenal).

Anyways, watching “Little Miss Sunshine” will make you feel like a little ball of sunshine. One hundred and ten percent guaranteed. This indie film centers around the Hoover family’s journey to enter young Olive into the Little Miss Sunshine child beauty pageant after learning last minute that she has qualified. 

Watching “Little Miss Sunshine” will make you feel like a little ball of sunshine. One hundred and ten percent guaranteed.”

Short on money, Olive’s parents, Richard (a Type A wannabe winner trying to sell his nine-step motivational program) and Sheryl (an overworked mom with a smoking vice) decide to drive their yellow Volkswagen Type 2 Minibus from Albuquerque, New Mexico, to Redondo Beach, California. Road trip!

Along with them on the ride is foul-mouthed Edwin, Olive’s grandpa who got kicked out of his retirement home for snorting heroin and who also acts as Olive’s coach for her talent routine, as well as Olive’s brother Dwayne who has taken a vow of silence until he reaches his dream of becoming a fighter pilot and Olive’s uncle Frank who’s staying with the family after an attempted suicide because he was out-Prousted by the man who stole his man. With characters like that, despite how stock-y they may seem in summary, the stage is set for a decidedly epic storyline.

And Little Miss Sunshine is full of twists, drama and humor that bring it up to your expectations—then blow them out of the water. The movie makes you realize something heartwarming about the perfection of imperfection, the magic of family and that being a “winner,” as Richard preaches like a douchebag through the first half, is actually oftentimes not associated with others’ perceptions at all, but rather that voice inside of you that tells you the right thing to do. Don’t worry, “Little Miss Sunshine” is not nearly as cheesy as I’m making it sound. There’s tons of black humor (not literally), character development and scenes of Olive being a precious but not overly saccharine character to propel the plot and keep you laughing at each Hurdle of Misfortune the Hoovers encounter. Personally, Little Miss Sunshine has usurped the number one place on my favorite movies list. So do yourself a favor, and WATCH IT AND BE HAPPY.