A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Family members argue, lie to each other, discuss suicide, sex, and death. But they also comfort each other and support each other when it really counts.
Violence & Scariness
References to suicide (Frank's cut wrists/bandages are visible, and Dwayne threatens to kill himself); some slapsticky antics; a character dies in his sleep, and the body plays a role in the rest of the movie.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Grandfather alludes to sexual desire and acts; Frank purchases porn magazines (gay and straight); Olive's suggestive performance at the pageant (taught to her by her grandfather) upsets the pageant officials.
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Around 10 "f--k"s, as well as other mild profanity.
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Products & Purchases
Mostly references to or brief shots of food products (fried chicken, Sprite, McDonald's, Burger King, Coca-Cola), plus Miata, Volkswagen.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Sheryl smokes cigarettes; Grandpa refers to cocaine and heroin use and is shown snorting drugs once.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Little Miss Sunshine is a hilarious but mature family road trip movie. It includes sexual slang and references to drugs, mostly by the grandfather. Gay and straight pornographic magazines (only the covers are shown) and a comedic striptease figure into the plot. Characters discuss depression and suicide (Uncle Frank has cut his wrists before the movie starts; his bandages are visible). There are conversations about "winning" and "losing," as measured by financial success. A character dies about halfway through the film; the family wraps up his body and carries it in their van to their destination. Characters curse (several "f--k"s), and the mother smokes a couple of cigarettes. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
This is a delightful film with a funny, tight script. It's true that the family road trip comedy isn't exactly a new genre; nor are quirky indie movies about dysfunctional families all that hard to come by. But somehow LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE manages to combine the two into something fresh, engaging, and often hilarious -- with a dash of "aw shucks" poignancy to boot. There's nothing radically new in terms of storytelling or character development, but the film nonetheless succeeds, thanks in part to its excellent cast (husband-and-wife directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris lucked out, casting Carell just before he hit it really big with The 40-Year-Old Virgin). There aren't any wasted moments in this movie; even the smallest action -- Frank buying the dirty magazines, for example -- turns out to matter down the line.
And then there's the finale. Ever since Little Miss Sunshine premiered at the 2006 Sundance Film Festival (and was purchased for a record $10.5 million), the big beauty pageant finish has been making audiences laugh until they cry -- which is pretty much how the Hoovers seem to approach life in general, so it all works out in the end.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.