Amy Adams, Emily Blunt, Alan Arkin
Rose: ‘Since 1963’…?
Joe: Yeah, it gives a sense of stability. People like that.
Rose: It’s a lie.
Joe: Well, it’s a business lie…it’s different from a life lie.
Rose (Adams) is a single mother, working as a cleaning woman, and having an affair with her married high school sweetheart. He’s an investigator, and one day he suggests that maybe crime scene clean up would be a good job for Rose since it pays so well. Rose enlists her sister, Norah (Blunt), to be her business partner, and the two must learn quickly on the job if they’re going to compete in their new field.
Let me get this out of the way right from the beginning: Amy Adams is adorable and can just about carry a movie all on her own. There. Now on to the rest of the review. Fortunately, she doesn’t have to carry this movie all on her own, but she is definitely the driving force. Rose constantly seems on the verge of breaking down and just giving up, but then Adams will refocus, give a somewhat assured smile, and head off down a new path. One that we want to follow her down.
As Norah, Emily Blunt provides the lazier, resigned personality that Rose could easily become without her resilient spirit. In one of their early cleaning jobs, Norah discovers a satchel with the deceased woman’s drivers license and pictures of her grown daughter. She sets off to find the daughter, just in case she doesn’t even know that her mother is dead. Through this story line, we see glimpses of a past family tragedy that has effected Rose and Norah’s lives since they were children. Emily Blunt is every bit as good as Adams in a much different role, and the two are even better together as very convincing sisters.
Great performances aside, this is yet another movie that could use a dose of energy. It’s hard not to compare it to Little Miss Sunshine, since a) the word ‘sunshine’ appears in both titles, and b) Alan Arkin plays essentially the same surly, yet lovable, grandfather role in both films. The comparison ends, though, when we look at the two films’ energy levels. This movie, while not exactly dull, crawls along at a much more leisurely pace. I’m not saying there needs to be a big dance number or anything like that, but a few more scenes with the characters having a little fun here and there couldn’t hurt.
I liked the premise, I liked the set up, and I liked the performances, but I thought some of the resolutions to the various story lines were underwhelming at best. Instead of building to an interesting and energetic climax, some stories just kind of fizzled out.
Still, the very end works well enough, and the movie over all is worth a watch. Even if it’s just to see Adams and Blunt’s great performances.
It’s not as easy as you’d think to scrub large amounts of blood off of a wall.
10 – 1.9 for being paced too slowly – 1.5 for some lackluster story line resolutions + .3 for the great performances = 6.9