I have to say I’m bemused at the negative critical reception for Sunshine Cleaning. I thought it was great; thoughtful, tender and quietly entertaining. Admittedly it’s got Amy Adams in it, so I’m biased (really biased) but the story of sisters Rose and Norah finding personal redemption in the sanitisation of dead people’s homes is really very good.
Here’s the story in brief: Rose Lorkowski is the sole (but frankly only semi-) functioning member of a damaged family that includes her wastrel sister, her too-bright son, her wheeler-dealer Dad, and the haunting memory of her suicidal mother. Her son’s dad is her old high-school boyfriend who married someone else but is still schtupping her on the side. There’s not a lot of self-confidence on display anywhere, to be honest, and the economics of small town America and the outcomes of bad choices are all too painful to behold. But when Rose gets the opportunity to make good money clearing up crime scenes (yes, she’s got no experience, or insurance, or qualifications, or even the right pair of hazmat gloves), she realises that she can make a difference.
Originally set in Baltimore, Sunshine Cleaning filmed in and around Albuquerque, New Mexico, no doubt taking full advantage of the State’s far-reaching film incentives; under Governor Richardson and the leadership of Film Commissioner Lisa Strout, over 60 feature films and television series have shot in the state, adding over $925 million dollars to New Mexico’s economy.