Film Review – Sunlight Jr. (2013)

Sunlight Jr. Post

Title: Sunlight Jr. (2013)

Director: Laurie Collyer (Sherrybaby)

Cast: Naomi Watts, Matt Dillon, Norman Reedus

Plot: Melissa (Watts) and Richie (Dillon) are a low income couple, with Melissa working at a dead end convenience store to make ends meet while the wheelchair bound Richie drinks his days away. When they find out a baby is on the way it offers them a ray of hope even though Melissa’s ex Justin (Reedus) continues to pester them.

“So, do you think I can make an honest women out of you?”

Review by Eddie on 11/08/2014

Sometimes a movie is just to darn glum for its own good, an example that could be tailor made for Sherrybaby director Laurie Collyer’s raw and in the end mediocre 2013 effort Sunlight Jr. The movie is a fine showcase for the well known talents of Naomi Watts and the arguable lesser recognized talents of Matt Dillon and also a warning bell that Norman Reedus needs to find himself a new agent faster than he can say “typecast”.

The story of Sunlight Jr. is really bare bones stuff with Collyer seemingly more worried about what depressing thing will happen to these people next rather than creating something that really affects the viewer. Many scenarios in the picture could hit home whether it be substance abuse, relationships, domestic violence or a raft of other tough issues but the film doesn’t seem to know what it’s saying and the arc struggles for it. We don’t really get why a kind person like Melissa loves an obvious drunk like Richie or why she would care for a redneck drug dealing fiend in the form of Justin and it makes her decisions through the journey harder to latch onto which is a shame as Watts again delivers here.

Creating a fine name for herself over many years now Watts must of taken a significant pay cut to appear in such a picture as this and it’s commendable that she would tackle a smaller scale picture  that would only seem to exist to win awards for it’s actors. Melissa is a fine piece of acting by Watts that is somewhat matched by Dillon while poor old Reedus must be wondering if he will ever get a non Daryl role now. Justin is such an overblown and overplayed part by Reedus that the films believability suffers for it and it’s a shame he was allowed to go so OTT, same could also be said for the films atrocious guitar tinged soundtrack.

Without another fine turn from Watts this film would of been a real lost cause but thanks to her it remains watchable but highly forgettable. If a film wants to be glum it needs to overcome this with high quality elements and everything else here around Watts just isn’t up to scratch leaving the viewer with not much to care for and not much reason to suggest to anyone that this trip into sorrow is worth enduring.

2 packs of donuts out of 5

4 responses to “Film Review – Sunlight Jr. (2013)

  1. Great point in regards to Reedus. He’s so damn good at the Daryl role that directors and casting folk the world over will be looking for him to fulfil exactly that role in their film. (And it’s often the type of role that earns plaudits). I hope he doesn’t fall into the typecast trap; he comes across as quite a down-to-earth, funny guy in interviews.


  2. Good review Eddie. It was a very minor film for all involved, but it was still an interesting watch because it painted a portrait we don’t too often see painted in movies nowadays. Meaning, the very sad, depressed lives.

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