Little Miss Sunshine
As Coontz (2016) points out, family values is a foundation that binds us together and keeps us safe in both good and bad times. In the film Little Miss Sunshine, I have extracted qualities that demonstrate the value of family and the need for unbreakable bonds. The film encourages love and understanding towards one another, which is shown in the setup, which leads to the overall tale of Olive Hoover, a seven-year-old girl. The film’s social setting depicts a society with distinct and close family ties and a series of struggles that are part of the culture. As I observe the cultural system of the society in the film, it portrays a family system that is strong and has a solid foundation. The movie inspires coexistence within a family set up since a lot usually goes on in such an environment that it may quickly destroy the peacefulness and calm that a family requires at times. The community is not very conducive as there are able to access hard drugs and immorality is on a high, which affects the society and families’ roots. The family provides hope that ensures the members have something or someone that they can give much for other than themselves despite being faced with the negativity of the society and the cultural barriers that prove a barrier to progress (Ward, 2016).
The story being told is of how a family manages to come together for the sake of Olive’s beauty pageant to ensure that they can make her dream to be in the competition possible. Olive is an educated young lady in a community where the levels of literacy are minimal. The concept of education is not popularized in Olive’s community as most of the people do not find it lucrative. However, the difficulties of family and challenges that are faced in each of the family members live come to life and influence the story, with each of the family member having to carry some weight on their shoulders. Despite all that is happening to the individual members they give the beauty pageant priority by ensuring that the dream for their young one Olive is realized much unlike theirs. The act of unselfishness goes to show the importance of family and the need to have one such support system in our daily lives. Family ties are what make or break us in the world we live in today, and I believe that having a family is more advantageous compared to not having one.
The benefit of having a family I see in the movie is the level of communication that is within the family. Let us look at the case of Olive’s brother Dwayne for example. I notice a bit of struggle that is withheld by Dwayne. He has piled up a lot of stress and frustration on what goes around the family, and due to his lack of communication, it affects him on his health and interaction with other family members. Dwayne is struggling to make a name for himself in an environment where most of his peers are not into joining a career. Having a career is a quite a difficult task in the eyes of the society and being successful is very accomplishing and fulfilling despite the barriers that face them in their pursuit. Dwayne’s vow of silence is a scapegoat to hide from the issues that he faces and the problems he has with the family. The struggles that Olive’s family faces are not eased by the fact that they have a considerable number of people who are educated. There is no understanding that can be realized without the communication of the underlying problems that are being experienced at a particular point in time of an individual’s life (Ward, 2016).
However, Olive’s grandfather is an outspoken man who lights up the room with his ever jovial and inappropriate subtle sense of humor. He seems to communicate better with everyone in the family in my opinion compared to other members despite his imperfection of heroin addiction. His struggles with cocaine to the extent of being kicked out of a home for the elderly, highlights a society that deals drugs and it is done by the young generation. The society finds itself in a neighborhood where drugs and drug violence is a norm that has grown to be part of them. Olive’s grandfather can bring them closer together even during his death when he overdosed on heroin at the motel during their trip to Olive’s beauty pageant competition. A lively part of the family that I feel has left a void in the family that was dependent on his callous attitude to take some of the edges off from their ever-consistent problems.
I look at Olive’s parents, and all I see is tension between them, they seem to have problems with their marriage that may be as a result of the failures of Olive’s father, Richard. Richard cannot seem to be successful at what he does despite his unending resolve, commitment, and hard work. The struggles in his profession have affected his wife Olive’s mother, Sheryl who turns out to be a smoker and does not pay much attention to the housewife duties that she is supposed to perform. The disorientated relationship of Richard and Sheryl is evident in their frequent arguments, but despite all of that, they remain together to work out their problems together. Coontz (2016) says that bonds that can never be torn apart are often those of family and I agree as it is shown vividly in the movie Little Miss Sunshine. The family holds put together, and that is what impressed me most in the film.
Sometimes it is all about thinking of the other person more than thinking about you, in a family set up. I believe if such internalization is involved in the family then it creates this unwavering bond among the members that can be a force to reckon. Look at what Olive’s family can achieve despite the conjoint nature of all its members in the family. Family members are willing to sacrifice to put their differences aside to come together for Olive. Each member I can see has a vexing problem that has been in their lives for quite some time but I consider it wise to put all aside and focus on Olive’s moment. Such selflessness is only seen with family, and that is what family is all about, being there for each other when such times are required.
Additionally, the connections within a family are also important in the sense that they are the high points of any family. Having a continuous support system is beneficial in setting up people for success and greatness since they are willing to show their support for all the undertakings that go on in our lives. I would love to have a support system as Olive’s that despite her shortcomings and being perceived as not a top contender for the position of the beauty pageant, her family still pushes her and supports her to the end. Not only is the support seen in happy times but also when you look at the difficult times that faced them during their misfortune when their grandfather passed. Having been the closest with the grandfather, Olive is affected the most, but the family can be with her during the troublesome period.
In conclusion, I think the movie portrays the important attributes like cohesion and unity in a family set up. Several faults are associated with family members in their pursuit of happiness that makes them conflict at times and come together most of the times. Having a support system like the Olive’s family is a step in the right direction for the society to model upon since I see more of good than the wrong in this family’s relationship. Most of the time some challenges happen in our lives but how to overcome the challenges is what makes us the people we are in our lives (Mburu et al., 2013). It’s a great luck to have someone with a strong personality as that of Olive sets the family in the right direction towards improving their close relationship, which sometimes is shaken by the constant and unending problems that they experience. The bigger picture in this film I believe is the essential aspect of family and the strength that it holds in the society. I truly believe that family is all about unselfishness and sacrifice to make others happy which in turn makes us happy.
Coontz, S. (2016). The way we never were: American families and the nostalgia trap. Basic Books.
Mburu, G., Ram, M., Skovdal, M., Bitira, D., Hodgson, I., Mwai, G. W., … & Seeley, J. (2013). Resisting and challenging stigma in Uganda: the role of support groups of people living with HIV. Journal of the International AIDS Society, 16(3).
Ward, J. (2016). Keeping the family business healthy: How to plan for continuing growth, profitability, and family leadership. Springer.