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Sunshine State

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Sunshine State

Starring: Edie Falco, Angela Bassett
Director: John Sayles
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 141 Minutes
Release Date: June 2002
Genre: Drama

*Also starring: Timothy Hutton, James McDaniel, Mary Steenburgen, Miguel Ferrer, Marc Blucas, Jane Alexander, Alan King, Bernard Alexander Lewis

Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

Like novelist James Michener, writer/director John Sayles is a superb storyteller, cleverly interweaving characters and environments to form a socioeconomic kaleidoscope of time and place. In "Lone Star," it was Texas; in "Limbo," it was Alaska. Now, it's the Florida coast, where a golfer (Alan King) expounds on how the Sunshine dream was devised.

It's Buccaneer Days in Delrona Beach, where despite the enthusiasm of Francine (Mary Steenburgen), the parade chairman - "People don't realize how hard it is to invent a tradition." - few are into the Chamber of Commerce pirate lore. They have their own problems. Francine's husband (Gordon Clapp) despairs over his gambling debts. Marly (Edie Falco), having jettisoned her dreams of being an oceanographer, along with her husband (Richard Edson), runs her father's (Ralph Waite) motel and is eager to sell to land developers (Miguel Ferrer, Perry Lang). Her mother (Jane Alexander) is into community theater when she's not saving natural habitats. Her lover (Marc Blucas) is off to be a golf pro and she's attracted to a new guy in town (Timothy Hutton). Meanwhile, in the black community of Lincoln Beach, Desiree (Angela Bassett), a TV infomercial actress, is visiting her mother (Mary Alice) for the first time in 25 years, bringing her new trophy husband (James McDaniel). But mama's teenage ward (Alex Lewis) is an arsonist and - in the midst of a brewing land battle between a doctor (Bill Cobbs) and a promoter (Sam McMurray) - Desiree's old boyfriend (Tom Wright) surfaces. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Sunshine State" is an ambitious, languid 6. John Sayles delves into dilemmas of love, duty and responsibility, along with family history and racism - too bad he does it at such a slow pace.

Copyright 2002 Susan Granger

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