Jul 27, 2012

The Clouds in "Little Miss Sunshine"

The comedy Little Miss Sunshine (2006) netted $100 million at the box office and was nominated for innumerable awards, including a Best Picture Oscar and a GLAAD Media Award.  

I found it creepy (little girls in a beauty pageant?  A dead body in the trunk?).  And heterosexist.

1. The gay character, Uncle Frank (Steve Carrell), is witty and sophisticated, like "all gay men."  He is also depressed and suicidal, a throwback to the pre-Stonewall gay characters who always killed themselves.  He is a literary scholar who researches Proust, naturally.

2. Everybody believes that being gay is "too personal" to talk about openly.  In an early scene, Uncle Frank is sitting at the dinner table, discussing how he was dumped by his boyfriend. His sister and her husband keep interrupting, gesturing wildly, trying to get him to shut up, because his young niece, Olive (Abigail Breslin) is present! Though the family is apparently very close, Frank has never brought boyfriends over for dinner, never mentioned being gay in front of Olive. He is only alluding to gayness now because he is too morose to care. Otherwise he would no doubt agree that children must grow up thinking that everyone on Earth is avidly, obsessively, irreparably heterosexual.  

3. Everybody agrees that being gay is far inferior to being heterosexual.  When Olive finally discovers that Uncle Frank was in love with a boy, not a girl, she exclaims "That's silly!"  He agrees that it is.  Everyone should be heterosexual.