Little Miss Sunshine is the real word of mouth success of the past year. Since it debuted at the Sundance Film Festival (almost exactly a year ago) it has won audiences and critics over with its charming brand of bittersweet comedy. It follows a dysfunctional family from Albuquerque as they drive to California in order to take their young daughter (Abigail Breslin) to a beauty pageant. A pushy father (Greg Kinnear), a stressed mother (Toni Collete), a depressed Proust scholar (Steve Carell) and a foul mouthed grandpa (Alan Arkin) all form the rich bag of misfits in the film.
First time directors Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris manage to create a genuinely charming comedy whilst avoiding easy cliches and schmaltz. It also neatly breaks a taboo of US pop culture in that it actually celebrates losers, rather than turning them in to bland success stories. Watch out for it at the BAFTAs and Oscars – it might not be this year’s Crash but it could certainly be a strong dark horse candidate.