Good Essay About Little Miss Sunshine:

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Cinema, Film, Family, Literature, Plot, Beauty, Choice, Development

Pages: 3

Words: 825

Published: 2020/11/09

Analysis Paper

Little Miss Sunshine, a film directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, is a heart-warming tale about the value of family. Although the film touches on numerous social and political issues, it is the thread of family that unites the entire narrative. From an all-star cast to brilliant screenwriting, this film demonstrates the beauty and power of fiction as a means to reveal personal and social truths.
No story is truly successful without a strong cast of characters. The most important element of these characters is that they be developed and relatable. Little Miss Sunshine rises to this occasion and surpasses. The characters within the film are incredibly well-developed as individuals and the dynamics between these characters is what truly propels the story forward. Not only do the individual characters possess unique identities and physical qualities, but they all have their little hang-ups—the nuances that truly reveal a believable character. For example, Frank, the gay brother of Sheryl, the mother in the film, struggles with reconciling his incredible intellect with the petty emotions that come from love and attachment. The father, Richard, is career-driven in almost a blinding way that he ostracizes the rest of his family. The son, Dwayne, has taken a vow of silence and it’s believable because he is an adolescent and adolescents do strange things like that. The young daughter, a contender in the “Little Miss Sunshine” beauty pageant, seems to be the only sane one. The screenwriter treads a very fine line between fully-developed and believable characters and the absurd. He succeeds tremendously.
Plot development is another element of the film that lends to the success of the film. Each plot choice revolves around the character dynamics, and each decision heightens the drama and tension between this seemingly dysfunctional family. Because of the increased tension, the end is that much more surprising and heartwarming, and this furthers the theme and message of the film. During the unraveling of plot, little friendships pop up that allude to the ending, but this only makes the characters more endearing. Two notable kinships are between the grandfather, Edwin, and the granddaughter, Olive. Their relationship, above all others, seems to reflect a genuine respect and affection between the two. This only grows throughout the film until Edwin’s unlikely demise. But this plot choice also drives the plot forward in a very important way as this marks the beginning of reconciliation between the family. The other unlikely kinship is between the brother, Frank, and the teenage son, Dwayne. Both characters are the silent, brooding type, and Frank seems to find comfort in Dwayne’s company, and Dwayne is tolerant. These relationships highlight the wider dysfunction of the group as a whole, which is why these plot choices are so important. Finally, in the wake of Edwin’s death, the family is tested at the beauty pageant, where Olive, perhaps the hero of the story, is faced with humiliation. She is portrayed as naïve and innocent and kind and joyful, a direct contrast to nearly every other character. Because she is the youngest and best of the family, the rest of the family put away their petty differences and insecurities and complaints to protect her. The result is poignant and hilarious.
Along with characters and plot, the genre chosen serves the film perfectly. It is filled with comedy, but it is very dark at times, and even though the film deals with issues that many would find hit quite close to home, the element of comedy allows for the audience to laugh along with the film and perhaps at themselves. This is a clever choice and one that opens the film to wide reception. It lightens the mood that the grave and serious often call for, but the choice of comic relief lends an element of optimism. This optimism is fully realized at the end of the film when the family joins together during the talent portion of the beauty pageant and dances to “SuperFreak.” Comedy is a very intentional choice that drives the narrative forward and lends meaning to the theme and message of the film.
All these artistic choices serve the theme and message of the film, which suggests that even though family can be a pain, they are always there for you, even if it might not always seem like it. Without the huge amount of building tension shown between the characters along with the mishaps that ratchet up that tension all the more, that message would not hit the audience as powerfully. By the time the family is put to the test, the audience is not only rooting for Olive, but for the entire family. Why? Because family can tiresome, but when the time comes to depend on someone, family will rise to the occasion, even one as dysfunctional as this one.
In conclusion, the film is a tremendous success. Through very clever and intentional artistic choices with character development, plot, and genre, this film captures a real slice of the human experience and makes a powerful argument about the importance of family—a very real truth, as seen through fiction.

Works Cited

Little Miss Sunshine. Dir. Jonathan Dayton, and Valerie Faris. Perf. Greg Kinnear, Steve Carrell, Toni Collette, Paul Dano, Abigail Breslin, and Alan Arkin. Big Beach Films, 2006. DVD.
Satwase, Vaishali. “Elements of Fiction.”, 9 Dec. 2008. Web. 10 Feb. 2015.

Cite this page
Choose cite format:
  • APA
  • MLA
  • Harvard
  • Vancouver
  • Chicago
  • ASA
  • IEEE
  • AMA
WePapers. (2020, November, 09) Good Essay About Little Miss Sunshine:. Retrieved June 25, 2022, from
"Good Essay About Little Miss Sunshine:." WePapers, 09 Nov. 2020, Accessed 25 June 2022.
WePapers. 2020. Good Essay About Little Miss Sunshine:., viewed June 25 2022, <>
WePapers. Good Essay About Little Miss Sunshine:. [Internet]. November 2020. [Accessed June 25, 2022]. Available from:
"Good Essay About Little Miss Sunshine:." WePapers, Nov 09, 2020. Accessed June 25, 2022.
WePapers. 2020. "Good Essay About Little Miss Sunshine:." Free Essay Examples - Retrieved June 25, 2022. (
"Good Essay About Little Miss Sunshine:," Free Essay Examples -, 09-Nov-2020. [Online]. Available: [Accessed: 25-Jun-2022].
Good Essay About Little Miss Sunshine:. Free Essay Examples - Published Nov 09, 2020. Accessed June 25, 2022.

Share with friends using:

Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.

If you need an original paper created exclusively for you, hire one of our brilliant writers!

Related Premium Essays
Contact us
Chat now