Little Miss Sunshine

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An analysis of how genre and narrative creates meaning and generates response in a five minute sequence from Little Miss Sunshine Little Miss Sunshine, directed by Jonathon Dayton and Valerie Faris, was released in cinemas in 2006 and was produced by Fox Studios. The film won two awards at this year’s BAFTA’s including ‘most original screenplay’, making this an excellent, even extraordinary Road Movie to choose. This film is about a family’s journey from Albuquerque to California so the daughter can enter a beauty contest. The Road Movie has huge amounts of iconography, which include the desert/isolation setting, the automobile, the characters relationships are dysfunctional, the narrative elements are episodic in nature, and would normally involve a brush with the law at some point. Overall the Road Movie goes against the traditions and ideology of the old American Values. In the sense that this is a Road Movie, for the most part it conforms to these “rules” of Road Movies, however it is a hybrid comedy too, so it can’t incorporate the more serious attitudes of movies such as ‘Easy Rider’ and ‘Thelma and Louise’, due to the plot, although it does really fit in all the Road Movie aspects along the way. My particular extract focuses on the son, Dwayne, played by Paul Dano, who finds that after an eye-test in the van, that his dreams of becoming a jet-pilot have shattered as he learns that he’s colour blind. This scene is good for analysis because it involves a major disruption, it’s life changing for this character, it challenges the family valves and is, in the end, a sign that the family has been brought closer together by the experience. The scene starts with the family in the broken VW van; a huge reminder of not only the hippy generation, but it gives reference to the Beatniks’ alternate way of life. Within the family are the usual family stereotypes; the dysfunctional parents, the moody teen, and the loud and playful child.
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