Sunshine Cleaning Movie Review Summary

Actors: Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of Sunshine Cleaning

A single mother starts a crime scene clean-up business to get enough money to send her son to private school. Amy Adams plays the lead character of Rose Lorkowski. Rose's son, Oscar (played by Jason Spevack) is expelled from school for acting up. She must put him on medication or send him to a special school. She wants to put him in private school, but her job as a maid does not pay enough. She is having an affair with a married man named Mac (played by Steve Zahn). He suggests she start a business cleaning up crime scenes because the pay is good. She gets her sister Norah (played by Emily Blunt) to help her when Nora loses her job. They start a business called "Sunshine Cleaning." They do a poor job at first, and then they get supplies from a cleaning store run by a guy with only one arm, named Winston (played by Clifton Collins, Jr.). Working in this makes them a bit sad when it reminds them of their mother's suicide, but they see value in the service they provide.
Click here to see the rest of this review

Mac is married and his wife is pregnant. Rose knows he will never leave her, so she breaks up with him. Rose also runs into some old friends from high school. She is embarrassed about what she does for a living. The quirky family has crazy ideas and problems. Norah lives with their father Joe (played by Alan Arkin). Joe comes up with a scheme to buy shrimp at wholesale, and then sell it at a profit to make enough money to buy a birthday gift for Oscar. His idea fails when nobody will buy from him. Norah has an affair with a woman named Lynn (played by Mary Lynn Rajskub) who was a previous client.

An insurance company calls them to do a big clean-up job, which is a good piece of luck, will earn them good money, and help their reputation. Rose cannot go because there is baby-shower she agreed to attend with former high school students, so she asks Norah to cover the job. Norah messes up the job. She burns the house down by accident. The insurance company says they owe $40,000 for the damages. This causes the business to go under because they cannot pay it. Rose has to work again as a maid.

Lynn wonders if Norah is serious about the relationship. Norah goes off on a trip to discover herself. Joe sells his house. He uses the money to start his new cleaning business with supplies he gets from Winston. He asks Rose to work with him. Rose is happy to get a second chance and work with her kooky father.
Best part of story, including ending: I like that the family is all a little crazy, but they find a way to help each other. It is nice to see them overcome their difficulties.

Best scene in story: It is very suspenseful and disappointing when Norah is so careless that she burns the house down where she is working.

Opinion about the main character: Rose seems genuinely concerned about the welfare of her family, which is admirable, so I was happy to see her finally get a good break in the end.

The review of this Movie prepared by Willi Vision a Level 31 Creepy Stalker Barn Owl scholar

Two sisters start a crime scene cleaning business and learn to settle their differences. Rose is a maid who needs to pay for her son's private schooling. She starts a business, on the advice of her police lover Mac to clean up after murders, tragedies, and accidents with her uninspired sister Norah. The sisters learn on the job and start getting better. Soon their business booms but their personal lives suffer problems. Rose realizes that Mac will never leave his wife and longs for something better. Norah seeks more direction and gets involved with a girl, Lynn, from one of their clean-up jobs. Their dad Joe, is kooky and the girls find themselves taking care of him. The business fails when Norah accidentally burns down a house. Later on, their dad sells their house to start a new cleaning business, asking Rose to become a partner. Norah goes on a self-discovery roadtrip and learns to become more independent.
Best part of story, including ending: I like the dysfunctional dynamic of the sisters and their eccentric dad.

Best scene in story: When they do their initial cleaning jobs and totally fumble through them.

Opinion about the main character: I pity Rose because she always imagined herself to be in a better state than where she is now.

The review of this Movie prepared by Tina Medina a Level 30 Banded Kingfisher scholar

Script Analysis of Sunshine Cleaning

Click on a plot link to find similar books!

Plot & Themes

Time/era of movie:    -   2000's+ (present) Family, loving    -   Yes Special relationship with    -   sister    -   father How much humor v. drama    -   Somewhat more humor than serious drama

Main Character

Identity:    -   Female Profession/status:    -   small businessman    -   blue collar Age:    -   20's-30's    -   40's-50's Ethnicity/Nationality    -   White American


United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Southwest

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   explicit references to deaths Sex/nudity in movie?    -   Yes What kind of sex:    -   kissing    -   lesbians!    -   actual description of sex    -   seeing breasts    -   seeing nude male butt    -   sex with icepick Any profanity?    -   Occasional swearing

Movies with storylines, themes & endings like Sunshine Cleaning

Sunshine Cleaning Message Board (click here)
Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
2 Ways to Search!

Our Chief Librarian