Sunshine State

GREETINGS FROM SUNSHINE STATE.

sunshinestateJohn Sayles has always been a socially conscious filmmaker, which is obvious also in this amusing and engaging movie about a small town in northern Florida where race relations and environmental issues surface. There’s no lead character, but an ensemble of people who are all equally interesting to follow. Sayles’s message is conveyed with a sense of humor and no preaching; the entire film is framed by a golf game where a bunch of older guys muse on the absurdity of constantly chasing after gold. Excellent dialogue and cast, including Edie Falco as a small-business owner who struggles with where she wants her life to go next.

2002-U.S. 141 min. Color. Produced by Maggie Renzi. Written and directed by John Sayles. Cast: Edie Falco (Marly Temple), Jane Alexander (Delia Temple), Ralph Waite (Furman Temple), Angela Bassett, James McDaniel, Mary Alice… Mary Steenburgen, Timothy Hutton, Clifton James, Alan King.

Last word: “There’s certain scenes that I know that I need to have to bring out what’s going on in this community. In the case of ‘Sunshine State’, there’s the unifying factor of Buccaneer Days, so you can say here’s what’s happening over four days: you see things being put up, you see things in full swing and then you see things being torn down. Some characters, that’s their story; other people, that’s just the background and it’s a nice device to glue people together. I organize those scenes and then very often in the second draft, I think: Here’s a character I don’t know enough about, or the audience isn’t going to enough about, so let me think them through a little more.” (Sayles, IndieWire)

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