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Parents' Guide to

Sunshine Cleaning

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 17+

Adult dramedy has unusual mix of laughs, gore, heavy themes.

Movie R 2009 102 minutes
Sunshine Cleaning Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 16+


Sunshine Cleaning was pretty good and interesting if you like drama films with less action and more story. I would definitely call it a chick flick. Basically about two very different sisters, Rose the responsible one and Norah the wild one, who decide to start a crime scene cleaning business because it pays more than regular housekeeping, although it sounds pretty simple, they soon discover how gruesome it can be and wonder if it's the best move. I think ages 16 and up is appropriate, there is drug use (Norah smokes pot several times) some drinking. Several sexual situations, It's also gory throughout including one sudden suicide scene, lots of cursing, and a small child that seems to be troubled. All in all, it is a pretty good watch.

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 17+

Bad for kids and a waste for adults!!!

As an adult, I wish they'd make higher quality movies for us!!!! Even a PG-13 movie isn't safe to enjoy these days!! This was just bad; depressing, discouraging, dumb, and a waste of my .79 cents!!! (My kids would never even want to watch this.) If you have strong moral values/faith, this will not inspire you! F*** used so many times I couldn't even try to keep up for a count...

This title has:

Too much sex
Too much swearing

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (7 ):

Quirky and affecting, SUNSHINE CLEANING is a lovely dramedy bolstered by extraordinary performances. As she's done with previous roles as a nun and a real-life Disney princess, Adams brings loads of warmth and empathy to her role. And in Blunt -- who has the rare gift of being able to marry humor and sorry with ease -- she has a formidable partner-in-crime. Rounding out the main cast in a role that harkens back to Little Miss Sunshine (the two movies have the same producers), Arkin cements his place in celluloid history as the patron saint of flawed-but-loving grandfathers. They're damaged, but you feel for them nonetheless.

But here's the rub (or should we say scrub?): Sunshine Cleaning feels painstakingly put together and a bit contrived. Though director Christine Jeffs doesn't reveal the psychological scars branded on the family's psyche until almost the end, she hints at them a little too heavily (the slo-mo flashbacks, the gray visual palette, the mishaps -- and there are many!). And must everyone be so idiosyncratic? Even the former high school classmates Rose runs into at a baby shower seem larded with spite. Still, as blemishes go, these are hardly deal breakers. The film's loudly beating heart and strong performances will wash the doubts away.

Movie Details

  • In theaters: March 13, 2009
  • On DVD or streaming: August 25, 2009
  • Cast: Alan Arkin , Amy Adams , Emily Blunt
  • Director: Christine Jeffs
  • Inclusion Information: Female actors
  • Studio: Overture Films
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Run time: 102 minutes
  • MPAA rating: R
  • MPAA explanation: language, disturbing images, some sexuality and drug use
  • Last updated: August 21, 2023

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