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Sunshine State /

Rated: PG-13

Starring: Edie Falco, Angela Bassett, Timothy Hutton, James McDaniel, Mary Steenburgen 

Directed by: John Sayles 

Produced by: Maggie Renzi 

Written by: John Sayles 

Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics


Movie Image

Movie Image

Movie Image

    Sunshine State is about problems between different groups of people. This is not only a film mouthing off on the conflicts between blacks and whites, though the topic does take up a lot of the duration. This is a movie based on war between authority and culture, economy and society, and young people and their elders. Director John Sayles crafts the pictureís character with care. He takes the wonderfully written dialogue and births it as if the events it describes were real. Sunshine State isnít a film that tries to cram itself full of action, and interesting material, but rather tries to stay down to earth. The characters have real emotions that get the best of them in realistic situations. It knows where it wants to go, and reaches its destination, only after the credits have to rolled. I canít say that its one of the best films of the year, but it is certainly the most well-made.

     The plot focuses on one woman, named Desiree Perry. As the film opens, we see her, accompanied by her husband, pulling up to a restaurant in their car. She needs to use the restroom badly. Though this might seem silly, it marks the beginning of a very serious storyline. Before entering the restaurant Desiree, and her husband have a small quarrel to decide whether blacks are allowed in the vicinity or not. Sunshine State takes place in present time, but African Americans have only just gained the full rights of a Caucasian where it occurs. Desiree uses the facilities without a problem, but several dirty looks accompany her newfound legal privileges. After she finishes, she and her husband hit the road again. When the vehicle comes to a halt for the second time, the two have reached their destination; the house of Desireeís mother. Desiree has not been to her motherís house for a long time, nor has she been on the island in which itís located. She has much to catch up on. In the time that she had spent away from Plantation Island, two things had been happening. A developer began working on a plan to demolish all of the old buildings on it, and Desireeís mother had taken in a child. These aspects of the plot make an emotionally exhilarating story thatís sure to please.

     Sunshine State is full of excellent acting and beautiful direction, as well. Performances by Angelica Basset, James McDaniel, and Edie Falco match John Sayles inspirational direction. Basset plays the emotionally tongue-tied Desiree with the utmost pride, and is very convincing. McDaniel plays her husband, a relaxed man throwing himself into the chaotic-state that Desiree istrapped in. McDaniel doesnít get a lot of screen time, but he is good, regardless. Falco playís a character that I did not introduce in a previous paragraph. She is Marly Temple, the daughter of the owner of one of the islandís oldest hotels. Marly does not want to give up the hotel to builders, who want to destroy it and put in a shopping center where it exists. Her father, who leaves all of its business to Marly, doesnít either. Falco is terrific, and while her character does not want to sell the family hotel, she knows that it would benefit her. She strives for a better social life, but isnít able to have a very good one because of her many responsibilities. All of these performances coincide with Saylesí magnificent direction and produce an amazing result. If you are one to enjoy watching cinema at its best, Sunshine State is a sure bet!

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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