Little Miss Sunshine the 16th anniversary of the Italian release

Sixteen years ago it was released in Italian cinemas Little Miss Sunshineindependent film with Steve Carell, Toni Collette And Greg Kinnear become a cult

On 22 September 2006 it was released in Italian cinemas Little Miss Sunshineindependent film directed by Jonathan Dayton And Valerie Faris.

With a relatively low budget and only thirty days of shooting, Little Miss Sunshine was introduced to Sundance Film Festival, on January 20, 2006, before being released in US theaters in July of the same year. In Italy, it arrived in cinemas exactly sixteen years ago and has become a real cult.

The protagonists of the film are the Hoovera family of strange individuals residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
The family consists of the father Richardwho lectures on the so-called “nine steps to success”, Hoping to publish an essay, but without actually achieving the success he tries to teach others.
Then there is the mother Sheryl, a busy woman, but very helpful, who hopes that her husband will be successful, to raise the economic conditions of the family. Sheryl decides to welcome her homosexual brother into their home Frankuniversity professor, one of the greatest connoisseurs of Proust. Frank, after being rejected by another man, having lost his job and having seen his rival rewarded in love, decides to attempt suicide and for this he will have to be constantly monitored.
There is Dwaynea grumpy fifteen-year-old who has taken a vow of silence until he enters the aeronautical academy.
But the real protagonist of the story is the little one Olives, a seven-year-old girl, whose dream is to participate in a beauty pageant for aspiring Miss America, while not falling within the impossible standards required by competitions. To help her, there is her grandfather Edwina man with drug problems and with a lot of nostalgia for his past life, full of recklessness.
Olive comes second in the competition for Little Miss Sunshinebut after the withdrawal of the first classified, she is recalled for the national finals, which will be held in California.
The family then sets off to California, aboard the broken yellow Volkswagen T2 minibus. But the trip will not go as expected.

Little Miss Sunshine
The Hoover family in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

Little Miss Sunshine is based on a script by Michael Arndt, who began writing the script on May 23, 2000, completing the first version only three days later. Initially he thought he could shoot the film himself, using a simple video camera, but then he turned to the producers Ron Yerxa And Albert Bergerto find a potential director.
The meeting with Dayton And Faris it was providential and the two directors were immediately enthusiastic about the script, which was purchased in 2001.

The film was proposed to several film studios, but the only one who was interested was Focus Features. The idea of ​​the studio was to focus the story more on the character of Richardbut when Arndt he objected, he was fired. The screenwriter was reinstated by the new direction of the studio and the film was finally ready for distribution.

But in addition to the script, one of the strengths of Little Miss Sunshine was the cast choice.
Greg Kinnear he was immediately chosen to play Richard Hoover, while for the role of Sheryl several actresses were tried, but then the choice fell on Toni Collette. For the role of the little girl Olivesthe producers shot “every nation that spoke English”, and then chose Abigail Breslinwhile Paul Dano he was chosen two years before filming began, so that he could best play the role of Dwayne. Finally, they were chosen Alan Arkin for the role of the grandfather Edwin And Steve Carrell for the character of Frank.

Little Miss Sunshine
Greg Kinnear, Toni Collette, Steve Carrell and Paul Dano in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

The screenwriter came up with the idea of ​​the film after reading an intervention by Arnold Schwarzenegger, made at a meeting with some US high school students. The actor had said: “If there’s one thing I hate in this world it’s the losers. I despise them “.

Arndt he concentrated on this intervention, to overturn his logic. Using the gimmick of the beauty contest, Arndt denounces the senselessness of a competition that rewards the beauty of girls, telling the story of a girl who is outside the standards required by this type of competition.

Little Miss Sunshinetelling the story of the family Hooverdenounces some dangerous thoughts of contemporary culture, which demonize failures and losers.
Society pushes us to be successful individuals, relevant to the canons of beauty pushed by the media, avoiding anything that is different from the proposed standard.

The character of Richard it is emblematic of the message of the work: it is a father who is based on the standards of contemporary culture and media. He tries to push people to success but, paradoxically and ironically, he can’t and he’s not a successful person himself.

Little Miss Sunshine
Abigail Breslin in Little Miss Sunshine (2006)

The family Hoover it is highly dysfunctional, from this point of view, but the journey they make together, aboard the ramshackle yellow minibus, allows them to get to know each other better and to accept each other.
The trip will allow the Hoover family to accept their being “losers” or in any case not to satisfy those canons of contemporary culture, on which they have been based up to that moment. Little Miss Sunshine it is a hymn to diversity, to break down the barriers of conformity, to simply be oneself, even if one is considered a loser or an outsider by the rest of society.

What makes the film a real cult is the way in which the concept is taken up: the dialogues are extremely bright and full of irony and despite some dramatic moments, Little Miss Sunshine manages to be perfect feel-good movie.

Some curiosities about the film

  • Initially, for the role of Frankhad been thought of Bill Murray And Robin Williams. Steve Carrell he did not completely convince the producers, due to his previous works, but the choice fell on him, when they realized that the actor was on the same wavelength;
  • The minibus used in the film is Volkswagen T2 Microbus, considered perfect for the travel theme. Five were used during production to allow filming to end, and many of the vehicle’s defects (broken horn, broken clutch, and defective door) were the same problems that Arndt he had had in his childhood, in the same minibus;
  • The “rivals” of Abigail in the beauty pageant they were really competitors of similar beauty contests;
  • The film won several awards, but also garnered 4 Oscar nominations, winning two: Best Original Screenplay and Best Supporting Actor for Alan Arkin.

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About David Martin

David Martin is the lead editor for Spark Chronicles. David has been working as a freelance journalist.

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