For me, the term 'dysfunctional' is nothing but itself. It's only a word that's often used to describe inexplicably difficult families or those of which you normally see readily bicker over unworthy stuff right on the sacred dinner table. But tell me, aren't all families like that? Not in my 2 decades of existence have I seen a family so perfect. Even our neighbors back in Manila, who I initially thought exhibited such harmony within them, would be heard cursing at each other in Ilocano from time to time. Even my family isn't all that unruffled. Trust me, this house transforms into an African jungle in no time during a wild bitchfest. But eventhough fights like that truly exist, I just can't help but find it oddly cute and funny how family can patch things up quite so easily, even without apologies exchanged. I mean, it's not that easy to be making peace with friends, right? But how come with family it comes organically effortless?
Then insert this movie appealingly titled, Little Miss Sunshine. It has been in my movie queue for the longest time, and at last, I was granted time and a free ticket to see it yesterday. Minus the fact that I'm a big Steve Carell fan, I was more intrigued by the plot's dark yet delightful comedy about the Hoover family and their misfortuned roadtrip to this certain beauty pageant, the titular subject. Olive (Abigail Breslin), an average girl from Albuquerque, has been wanting to enter the said contest for years, and when finally given the chance, her family of misfits decides to accompany her via a cross-country adventure to California, needless to say, with innumerable mishappenings. With her are her father Richard (Greg Kinnear), an unsuccessful motivational speaker who disgusts losers, her heroin-snorting and pageant-coach Grandpa (Alan Arkin), her gay Uncle (Steve Carell) who recently committed suicide, her non-speaking brother Dwayne (Paul Dano) who took a vow of silence before entering flight school, and her mother Sheryl (Toni Collette), who cares about family above anything else. In a rusty aged van which works as flawlessly as their relationships, the trip was anything but pretty as they'd hoped for. But along the way -- although petty fights, and unexpected events have taken place -- they found a way to unite as a family and resolve things, sometimes, without even saying a word.
What I like most about this movie is that it's enjoyably moving without being theatrically dramatic. It will dab your emotions quite strongly but not in the sense that it'd make you cry. If anything, the film's surprisingly undisguised humor is what would definitely drive you to tears in laughter. Acting is equally amazing. I don't think there's a better collected cast than this. Overall, this feature simply exudes everything a moviegoer wants in a satisfying bargain - a clear and unpretentious story-telling and acting without being over the top. I can honestly say that this one's just perfect for my tastebuds. Let alone that it stars one of my favorite actors, and that it conveys a story that's very easy to relate to and a reality check that's comforting to admit.
Literally, the word 'dysfunctional' refers to a subject that can never function, or a frequent failure of its purpose. But to me, the word's use has obviously now morphed into a new synonym of 'normal' whenever pertains to family. I don't want to believe that family can forever be tainted with faults, fury, hatred, and anything else negative. Instead, I embrace family -- although unmanageable at times -- as the only one I have in the world, through prosperous and unhealthy times of life. Therefore, upon seeing this movie, it only reaffirmed one thing. And that's the fact that being a member of a so-called dysfunctional family is actually indeed normal.