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Sunshine State (2002)

Cast: Edie Falco, Edie Falco, Angela Bassett, more...
Director: John Sayles, John Sayles
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Columbia TriStar
Genre: Drama
Running Time: 141 min.
Languages: English
Subtitles: English, French
    see additional details...

This title is currently out of print.

Writer and director John Sayles returns with another multi-layered look at an American community, subtly exploring how race, class, economics, and both national and regional history come together to shape people's lives. Plantation Island is a community on the coast of Florida; the island was once a notorious hotbed of segregationists, with most of the African-American population centered in the neighborhood of Lincoln Beach, while Delrona Beach is primarily home to white residents. Marly Temple (Edie Falco) is the sixth generation of her family to live in Delrona Beach, where she helps run a motel and cafe owned by her elderly and ill-tempered father (Ralph Waite) and drama instructor mother (Jane Alexander). Marly's former husband, Steve (Richard Edson), is a scruffy ne'er do well who's a sucker for get-rich-quick scams, while her current boyfriend, Scotty (Marc Blucas), is struggling to make something of himself as a golf pro. Meanwhile, Desiree Perry (Angela Bassett) is an actress who is returning to Lincoln Beach for the first time since she was a teenager, hoping to introduce her new husband, Reggie (James McDaniel), to her mother, Eunice Stokes (Mary Alice). Desiree was the center of a minor local scandal when she became pregnant as a teenager and moved away. Eunice has never quite forgiven her, while Flash (Tom Wright), Desiree's high school boyfriend and the man responsible, hasn't seen her since. Eunice is looking after Terrell (Alex Lewis), a troubled youth recently found guilty of arson, and Desiree and Reggie soon find themselves bonding with the misguided youth. In time, Delrona Beach and Lincoln Beach are brought together by a common concern; Greg (Perry Lang) and Lester (Miguel Ferrer) are representatives from a nearby resort community looking to expand, with Plantation Island looking like their most likely target. As homeowners debate whether to sell or stay put, local government officials and the town's business community argue the merits and faults of the resort's expansion into Plantation Island. Meanwhile, Marly becomes romantically involved with Jack (Timothy Hutton), a landscape architect affiliated with the developers who seems to believe his work is doing more harm than good. Sunshine State also features Mary Steenburgen, Alan King, and Bill Cobbs. ~ Mark Deming, All Movie Guide

You might also enjoy:
Lone Star
Possibly Sayles' most assured film, also examines the way history infiltrates and affects a community

Another well-acted, earnest Sayles drama, this one set in Alaska

Ulee's Gold
Sensitive, Florida-set drama featuring Peter Fonda

GreenCine Member Reviews

Ordinary People by WAkers January 16, 2003 - 8:14 AM PST
4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
John Sayles posesses an uncanny ability to make seemingly everyday stories about ordinary people completely engaging to the viewer.

A washed-up would-be actress and her new husband, a troubled youth and the grandmother who's adopted him, a jaded hotel operator looking for a way out of a dead end town and her dying entrepreneur father struggling to hold on to his business, a crooked city councilman and his lonely wife, big city developers looking to cash in on developing the land, angry black residents struggling to keep a grip on their town's history, and many more characters come together in a movie that is difficult to describe and define (like all of Sayles' work.)

Part comedy, part drama, tons of great performances and great political commentary all come together in a refreshing change from most ensemble movies. Clocking in at over 2 hours, Sunshine State is never boring. Definitely worth the rental, and Sayles' commentary is enlightening. Check it out.

GreenCine Member Rating

(Average 6.42)
90 Votes
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