Sunshine Cleaning was a 2008 comedy drama that focused on a family that started a cleaning and maid service. The film starred Amy Adams and Emily Blunt as the main characters and was directed by Christine Jeffs. After it appeared at the Sundance Film Festival, the film received rave reviews in commercial theatres. It eventually reached the broader American market in March of 2009.
The film begins with a basic premise. One of the main characters, Rose Lorkowski, who is played by Amy Adams, is a maid and single mother of one. Her sister, Norah, who is played by Emily Blunt, is an ill performing waitress. As each realizes they are underachieving at their jobs, they are given an opportunity to use their maid service skills to clean up after crime scene investigations. As their company grows, they each have one terrible day on the job. During a routine cleaning, one of the sisters accidentally burns down a house with a candle, forcing them to pay a fine they cannot afford to pay from their simple, humble startup.
By the end of the film, the family is reunited in their endeavors as small business entrepreneurs. While the ending won’t be spoiled here for those who may have seen the film, the actresses received rave critique at both Sundance and with commercial audiences. With a humble budget of $5 million, the film eventually made $15 million in revenue, not counting sales of DVD and Blu-Ray. The film was originally written for a maid service set in New Mexico, and all of the filming took place in New Mexico as well.
The main cast starred Emily Blunt and Amy Adams as the sole owners of the maid service, Alan Arkin as Joe Lorkowski, Mary Lynn Rajskub as Lynn and a great cast of supporting characters. Some of these included Eric Christian Olsen, Jason Spevack, Kevin Chapman, Steve Zahn, and Clifton Collins Jr. In 2001 the filmmakers gave an interview to National Public Radio’s All Things Considered where they revealed their inspiration for making the film, its filming locations through New Mexico, and its main location of Albuquerque.
After the film was released, critics gave it a whopping 71% out of 100% on the critic website, Rotten Tomatoes. Any rating above the level of 65% on this website means that the vast majority of critics were positive and that the film was a cinematographic and writing success. As a result, the writer, Megan Holley, receive several thumbs up from screenwriters, filmmakers, and other movie writers in the industry. Further, in 2008, the film was nominated for a Grand Jury Prize and a Satellite Award for some of the acting roles. In the next year, the film won Outstanding Achievement in Casting for a Low-Budget Feature by the Casting Society of America.