The film Little Miss Sunshine, Directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Farris, explores the lives of a regular American family and how they change their lives in front of us in the ‘Combie’ van on the road to the Little Miss Sunshine beauty pageant. The film examines the issues of winning and losing, and what it means to be a winner, throughout many sequences in the film as well as exploring the value of family. The directors and the cinematic team use an extreme range of camera techniques, costuming, and sound techniques to reshape our understanding of winning and losing in the world we live in today.These members of the family are very different than the ideal American family and certainly stand out in the Little Miss Sunshine competition as being the odd family out and not up to standard to the others.
Firstly the directors and their team use a variety of different camera techniques to shape our view on the characters, and ultimately change our view in the world. In the opening sequence each character is introduced using different camera shots. For example Olive’s father is first projected to the audience as a success. There is a sequence of close ups and mid ranged shots which show Richard confidently speaking in a spotlight at the front of the room. However the cinematic team then use a cut to a point of view shot of what Richard sees when he has finished talking, which allows us to then see how much of a failure he really is, as there is only five, half asleep, bored people in the room and only one person applauds Richards work. This first sequence allows us to see that Richard acts and feels like a winner to himself, but when he is seen with the rest of the world he is failure and a loser. The directors have used this sequence to shape our understanding of winning and losing as it employs the idea that winning and losing is based on comparing yourself to the rest of the world, instead of being on how you feel and view yourself.
Secondly the costuming used in the film has a big effect on shaping our view on the characters and their position in the movie world. The characters in the Hoover family are costumed as a very average family. the father should ideally be the provider of the family and a good example for his son as a masculine figure, but he is unsuccessful with his career and doesn’t meet these expectations. The son is essentially a loser who is shown doing some lifting but doesn’t have an over all appearance of masculinity. The mother is insufficient as a provider. She doesn’t cook but rather gives her family fried chicken for days in a row. As a mother she also fails to set a feminine example for her daughter Olive, but does support her in her pageant dreams. She does fail to realize that this pageantry may hurt Olive because as a mother she does know that Olive is not up to par. Today, mother’s who are incapable of supporting the family and taking care of the family are deemed a “bad mom”. Not only are mothers subject to criticism from the public but also by the family itself. Dwane in the movie expresses his hatred and the long conjured up anger toward his family and mother when he’s down on the side of the road infuriated after finding out he can no longer become a pilot.
Society works so hard to uphold the idea of a perfect family because there is a lot of criticism from our society for those who don’t. This