Little Miss Sunshine is a humor-drama film in America. Filming of this movie began on June, 2006. The plot of the movie follows a family unit’s trip to a children’s beauty show. The peculiar road tour is from New Mexico to California. The family anticipates that their daughter will be the victor of this beauty contest. The film play was written by Michael Arndt, a first- time writer.
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The characters of this movie include Sheryl Hoover, Frank, Richard, Edwin, Olive and Dwayne. The Hoovers are a strained, dysfunctional household, residing in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The plot line starts as Sheryl Hoover hoists her brother Frank from the hospice after his attempt to commit suicide (Arndt, Faris & Dayton, 2007).
Sheryl Hoover is an overburdened mother of two kids. She resides in New Mexico. She has a brother by the name Frank. Frank is an intellectual gay of French dramatist, Marcel Proust. He momentarily lives with his family following his attempt to commit suicide. His reason for attempting to commit suicide is that he has lost his wife to a Proust intellectual who is the second most respected in America.
Richard is Sheryl’s husband. He is struggling to build an occupation as a motivational presenter and a life tutor. Sheryl and Richard have a son by the name Dwayne. Dwayne is just from breaking up with his wife. He is unhappy and has sworn to be silent until he can achieve his dream of joining the US Air force Academy. He wants to become a test pilot. Edwin is Richard’s father.
He is taint mouthed and a veteran of the Second World War. He has currently been thrown out from a retirement quarter for using and trading in heroine. He resides in Richard’s family. He is tight with his granddaughter, Olive, who is seven years old (Jackson, 2005). This paper will focus on the character, Olive. She is a small girl with a dream of being successful in the Little Miss Sunshine Pageant.
Systems in which Olive as a character is part of
Olive is part of the family and the community systems. In the family, Olive interacts with her grandfather. He is heroin obsessed and interacts with Olive by being her tutor. Olive’s family members want her vision to come true, but they are so loaded with their own peculiarities, neuroses and troubles. They can seldom make it through a single day of the week without some tragedy befalling them (Miller, Vandome & Brewster, 2009).
Olive qualifies for a “Little Miss Sunshine” beauty competition. This is to take place in California in a period of two days. She is overjoyed. Despite the several logistical matters, the whole family decides to go for the beauty contest. Though Richard, Frank and Dwayne are not willing to go, they all gang together to support this seven year old girl.
In this way, Olive as a character interacts with her family. They engage in the 1287 km road tour, in their antique yellow colored Volkswagen. Family tensions occur in the course of the journey. The van has more and more trouble due to some mechanical issues. Early in the tour, the clutch of the van breaks. The family decides to push the van until it reaches a speed of 20 miles for every hour.
They then run and get in. All through the road tour, this family faces many personal impediments. They realize the need for support from one another. Edwin passes away during the trip from a perceptible overdose of heroine. Here, the impact of Olive is felt in the family. The family determined to reach the beauty contest in time, smuggles Edwin’s body out of the sanatorium, hence illegitimately transporting it from corner to corner of the state. They propose to make funeral plans after the contest (Arndt, Faris & Dayton, 2007).
The family finally arrives in California. However, Olive is almost denied entrance into the contest for being late by four minutes. As she prepares, the family watches the other contestants. They are slim, sexualized small girls whose hairs are extremely styled. Their faces are heavily made up. They are in sexy swimsuits and fascinating eveningwear.
These contestants are performing highly complicated music with absolute confidence (Jackson, 2005). It, therefore, becomes evident that Olive who is unsophisticated, soft, slightly chubby and with unsettled hair, in large spectacles and inexperienced in a beauty contest is not part of their confederation.
Olive’s interaction with the family is realized when her turn to perform in the skill portion approaches. Richard and Dwayne realize that Olive is most likely to be humiliated. In their efforts to protect her from this feeling, they run to the vinaigrette room to discourage her from performing. Her mother, however, asserts that Olive should be left to perform.
Her interaction with the family is again noticed. She listens to her mother and chooses to go on the performance platform. When her turn to perform arrives, she happily executes the dance routine her grandfather had furtively choreographed for her (Jackson, 2005). This is an imitation performance to the song “Super Freak” by Rick James. Her grandfather’s coaching is a sign of how she interacts with the family system.
On the stage, Olive’s interaction with the community is shown. Olive is naively oblivious to the outraged and horrified response of the audience. The organizers of the contest are infuriated, and command Olive’s parents to remove their daughter from the stage. Her interaction with the family system is again realized when at this point, her family members accompany Olive on the stage.
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They dance besides her and her father prevents the officials of the Pageant from touching Olive. This, on the other hand, destroys Olive’s interaction with the community system. The impact of this poor interaction with the community system is demonstrated where the family is seen standing outside the hotels safety office. They are warned by the police officer that their daughter should never again join a beauty contest in California State (Miller, Vandome & Brewster, 2009).
Olive’s father tells her that her grandpa would be extremely pleased with her. This is a demonstration of Olive’s interaction with the family system. The family joyfully piles into their Volkswagen and head back to their residence in Albuquerque (Hargreaves, 2011).
Impact of the Physical environment on the Character and the systems
Physical environment has an impact upon Olive as a character and the family as a system. When the family in this film realizes that their old Volkswagen cannot be renovated to enable them get into the beauty competition in time, they choose to drive it that way. They have to get out and push it in order for it to start moving.
This means that each time they stop either to eat or due to illness and other circumstances such as being pushed over by a rob, they all have to alight from the Volkswagen, push it and then run and get inside. Despite all this problems, all of them are excited and feel somehow pleased, contented and linked (Toth, 1993).
The physical environment has an impact on Olive, the family and community systems. The organizers of the contest are infuriated during Olive’s performance. They command Olive’s parents to remove their daughter from the stage. In this film, the physical environment is based on a discriminating and purging procedure working within a board of judges off the stage.
These are commanding figures. They use power to their own interest in their verdict of choosing the losers and the winners. The role of the physical environment is realized around the life of Olive. Her mother and grandfather have an effect on Olive’s life. Their moral knowledge put Olive through a competition mainly based on looks and originality.
They instill in her the courage to be distinct on the stage and in life. Initially, it appears that Olive is entirely no winner of the contest. She looks ordinary with her inborn and unrefined expressions. She is quite opposite to her rivals (Hargreaves, 2011).
The physical environment also has an impact on the family system. As she prepares, the family members watch the other contestants. They are slim and serialized small girls whose hairs are extremely styled. Their faces are heavily made up. They are in sexy swimsuits and fascinating eveningwear. These contestants are seen performing highly complicated music with absolute confidence.
It, therefore, becomes evident in the minds of the family members that Olive who is restrained, soft, slightly chubby with unsettled hair, in large spectacles and inexperienced in a beauty contest is not part of their confederation. The impact of this is recognized when Olive’s turn to perform in the skill portion approaches. Richard and Dwayne realize that Olive is mostly likely to be humiliated.
In their efforts to protect her from this feeling, they run to the vinaigrette room to discourage her from performing. Her mother, however, asserts that Olive should be left to perform. The power of the physical environment is realized here when Olive listens to her mother and chooses to go on the performance platform (Jackson, 2006).
The film also attempts to bring the role of the physical environment forward. In its effort to show the influence of a different society custom, the film shows how physical appearance of contestants in a beauty pageant changes people’s perception of the winners. My reading of the Toth’s book has influenced many of my thoughts in the impact of the physical environment (Toth, 1993).
Culture and sociocultural influences
Culture has an impact on the surrounding family systems in this film. While this family is far from the romanticized notions of customariness presented in television sets and Hallmark cards, they are, in fact, very typical. Richard’s ordinary quality is seen in his attempt to be victorious in conventional terms. His desperate effort is to imagine of himself as not only victorious but as someone who can recognize success for others.
This is a manifestation of the spirit of America; the spirit of unappeasable hope, aspiration and trust in the future. Sociocultural difference is seen where Richard’s wife is not convinced that her husband understands what he is doing. She is not able to live up to her anticipations but believes that she is capable of providing the support needed by her family members (Hutchison, 2008).
Culture has an impact on Olive. American culture portrays dreamers in such a way that their dreams will be ultimately fulfilled. Americans believe that, through hard work and ability to persevere, the impossible is likely to occur. In this film, American dream is given an assurance that the road to the promised land of victory is ever open and prepared for the arrival of dreamers.
In contrast, this rosy colored supposition has its drawbacks. It tends to overwhelm the precise moments when the realized potential of American vision does not function like a charm. Jim Cullen in this movie asserts that the American Dream would have no inscrutability if it were an indisputable false hood or a systematically demonstrable belief. The dream’s uncertain and fluctuating nature can do more destruction than scrupulous.
In this movie, Olive provides an apt illustration of trusting in her dream. She and the family members manage to find a solution out of this vital point in life. The road tour of taking Olive to the Little Miss sunshine contest ends up as a blessing in disguise (Toth, 1993).
Culture and sociocultural structure play into the dynamics in the film. The publishing of this film revitalized the genre of the road film. Its characteristic generic magic lies in its quite critical and insightful attitude towards the current American life. In addition, the counter culture and unsociable voices demonstrated in Little Miss Sunshine reverberate with certain significant films that have become a turning point in the road film custom for decades.
The rebellious expressions and resistant signals inconsistent with the mainstream in the film are demonstrated in the protagonist’s aggravated experiences of living in and for the supernatural charm of the American dream. In the film Little Miss Sunshine, the Hoover family undergoes their respective broken visions.
Their westward trip to California hardly pays off in the manner the American Dream might have assured to its most loyal worshippers. The Hoover family attempts to appear like the winners, though, the truth always verify them to be the converse the next time. For instance, in spite of Olive’s winning spirit and illustrious devotion, she is still defeated in the Beauty pageant (Hutchison, 2008).
The genre of the road film is acknowledged as an elite window into American culture. Culture in the dynamics of the film is seen through the movies inventive form and subject. Little Miss Sunshine does not simply echo but challenges the conventional style of narration and genre. For instance, the yellow Volkswagen and the assemblage of a family as primary characters is where the initial and transformation power of the film rests on.
The Hoover’s ineptness and impediments demonstrate an extraordinary disposition that is hardly demonstrated in the gloomy termination of the classic road movies. The road film is identified as an appropriate and fundamental paradigm for an interior look into America. It was founded on interrelated social and customary climates. The car during this era was recognized as transportation means only.
However, after the shooting of the film, the car is now identified as a measure of victory and sign of liberty to move. It has now become glamorized and is considered as a customized commodity for satisfying customers varied tastes and personal wants (Toth, 1993).
The role of culture and sociocultural structure is also seen in the dynamics of the film and the surrounding family system. On their way to the beauty contest in California, the Hoover family travels in a Volkswagen. This is an indication of the hippie culture connected with the anti- development and anti- social suggestions. For this reason, when the Hoovers drive on the highway, it suggestively affirms an attitude of social protest.
Driving a bus with no clutch means that it is likely for them to violate the traffic laws. Symbolically, laws are made to be broken by the public. They have to violate the social laws and counteract traditionalism, so that they will be freed from the present stationary way of life.
Besides, this is different from the fashionable and superb vehicles in most road movies from the preceding decades. The unprecedented use of an out- fashioned and dysfunctional Volkswagen sabotages the car fetish drift that has passed down in the culture of road movies. On most incidences in the movie, this bus hardly offers a smooth and pleasurable ride.
It collapses each and every time. In this viewpoint, this bus functions as an image breaker of the joyful and fashionable ideal a car usually typifies in road films. It neither appears shiny and stylish nor retains a high capability for mobility (Hargreaves, 2011). It is, therefore, clear that culture and sociocultural structure play a vital role in this film.
Little Miss Sunshine does not appear specifically ambitious, in terms of either its storyline or its role over the visual style of the Character. Its development of the characters and the tremendous performances is an astonishingly sharp look at the current American society. This film sets the stage metaphor especially competition against the treasured myth of the open road (Jackson, 2006).
My personal reaction to Olive as a character in this movie is that she is courageous, loving and determined to satisfy her dream of becoming a beauty queen. She maintains her personality in the beauty pageant. She does not remove her dancing costumes while on the stage like the other contestants. She is principled and does not behave like the other contestants.
She obeys her mother. This is seen where she follows the instructions from her mother when her father and brother dissuades her from performing in fear of being defeated and humiliated (Hutchison, 2008). My personal reaction to the film is that it is a bit unsatisfactory. It, in the end, never reveals who won the beauty competition.
The human anguish experienced by the Hoover family whilst on the road is a sign of the power of transformation for human beings. It develops the human mind to a positive horizon in life at the cost of an impermanent mental torture.
I would recommend that this film was not the best. For instance, there is a crucial scene where a character realizes that he is color blind for red and green. The character realizes this half way through the film. It is impractical that this character had not discovered his condition. This movie, however, is powerful, goofy and comical.
Arndt, M., Faris, V., & Dayton, J. (2007) Little Miss Sunshine: the shooting script. New York: New market Press
Hargreaves, R. (2011) Little Miss Sunshine. New York: Price Stern Sloan.
Hutchison, D. E. (2008). Dimensions of human behavior: The changing life course. Los Angeles: SAGE.
Jackson, E. G. (2005). Little Miss Sunshine. New York: Appleton and Co.
Jackson, E. G. (2006).Little Miss Sunshine. New York: Goff Publishers.
Miller, P.F., Vandome, F.A., & Brewster, J, (2009). Little Miss Sunshine. New York: Taylor & Co.
Toth, J. (1993). The mole people: life in the tunnels beneath New York City. Chicago: Chicago Review Press.