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Little Miss Sunshine

September 15, 2015

LMSHilarious and touching, earthy comedy-drama about family dysfunction and personal ambition amid the disturbing world of child beauty contests.

Family dysfunction – The notion of ‘family dysfunction’ probably applies much more widely than some people think. The struggles posed by conflict between family members can be overwhelming

Personal ambition – The prevailing values of society suggest that each of us should try to become as wealthy as we can through our own personal ambition and effort. This often leads to unnecessary stress, illness, family breakdown, and even premature death.

Suicide and depression – Depression affects a huge number of people, for a vast range of reasons. The suicidal character in Little Miss Sunshine has both a broken heart and a troubled career.

Childhood innocence – Little Miss Sunshine focuses on a child whose innocence is being stolen by adults who, for whatever reason, organise public contests to evaluate how children look. The pressure of the ‘beauty myth’ now starts earlier than ever, and child beauty contests are only the tip of the iceberg – the sexualization of children is evident in our culture – from the fashion being aimed at pre-teens, to the role models offered by young adult celebrities.

Forgiveness – The family in Little Miss Sunshine have a lot about which to be angry with each other. Yet the film sees them finding reconciliation, not through any explicit repentance/forgiveness, but through bonding together toward a common goal – that of protecting their weakest member from harm.

Grandpa: A real loser is someone who’s so afraid of not winning he doesn’t even try.

Dwayne: You know what? Fuck beauty contests. Life is one fucking beauty contest after another. School, then college, then work… Fuck that. And fuck the Air Force Academy. If I want to fly, I’ll find a way to fly. You do what you love, and fuck the rest.

Dwayne: I wish I could just sleep until I was eighteen and skip all this crap-high school and everything-just skip it.

Frank: Do you know who Marcel Proust is?

Dwayne: He’s the guy you teach.

Frank: Yeah. French writer. Total loser. Never had a real job. Unrequited love affairs. Gay. Spent 20 years writing a book almost no one reads. But he’s also probably the greatest writer since Shakespeare. Anyway, he uh… he gets down to the end of his life, and he looks back and decides that all those years he suffered, Those were the best years of his life, ’cause they made him who he was. All those years he was happy? You know, total waste. Didn’t learn a thing. So, if you sleep until you’re 18… Ah, think of the suffering you’re gonna miss. I mean high school? High school-those are your prime suffering years. You don’t get better suffering than that.

[from trailer] Olive: Grandpa, am I pretty?

Grandpa: You are the most beautiful girl in the world.

Olive: You’re just saying that.

Grandpa: No! I’m madly in love with you and it’s not because of your brains or your personality.

Richard: Oh my God, I’m getting pulled over. Everyone, just… pretend to be normal.

Richard: There’s two kinds of people in this world, there’s winners and there’s losers. Okay, you know what the difference is? Winners don’t give up.

Richard: Sarcasm is the refuge of losers.

Frank: [sarcastically] It is? Really?

Richard: Sarcasm is losers trying to bring winners down to their level.

Frank: [sarcastically] Wow, Richard, you’ve really opened my eyes to what a loser I am. How much do I owe you for those pearls of wisdom?

Richard: Oh, that ones on the house.

Dwayne: You know what? Fuck beauty contests. Life is one fucking beauty contest after another. You know, school, then college, then work, fuck that. And fuck the air force academy. If I wanna fly, I’ll find a way to fly. You do what you love, and fuck the rest.

Frank: I’m glad you’re talking again, Dwayne. You’re not nearly as stupid as you look.

Grandpa: Losers are people who are so afraid of not winning, they don’t even try.

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From → Film, Sexuality

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