Sunshine State
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Writer and director John Sayles returns with another multi-layered look at an American community, subtly exploring how race, class, economics, and both national and regional history come together to shape people's lives. Plantation Island is a community on the coast of Florida; the island was once a notorious hotbed of segregationists, with most of the African-American population centered in the neighborhood of Lincoln Beach, while Delrona Beach is primarily home to white residents. Marly Temple (Edie Falco) is the sixth generation of her family to live in Delrona Beach, where she helps… More

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Rotten Tomatoes Score: 80%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Sunshine State resembles Sayles' sketchbook more than his finished work, and we might hope that something more polished might spring from it."
‑ Peter Howell, Toronto Star
"This is geographic history as personal history, a look at a vanishing world before the tide of progress immerses it. It's also superb independent filmmaking."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"This well acted ensemble melodrama is not one of John Sayles' strongest films."
‑ Emanuel Levy, EmanuelLevy.Com
"Sunshine State certainly ranks as one of the director's richest, most satisfying films."
‑ Brett Buckalew,
"John Sayles has crafted a bleak, not-so-happy view of what many parts of the sunshine state are really like as developers snap up and exploit what hasn't already been turned into a theme park, resort, or retirement community."
‑ Kevin A. Ranson,
"Sunshine State has the structure, the theme, the style and, at 141 minutes, the length of a great John Sayles film. What it doesn't have, alas, is the merit."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"Sunshine State lacks the brilliance of Sayles' most dynamic offerings, but, for those who don't mind an unhurried, deliberate narrative pace, this is a worthwhile offering."
‑ James Berardinelli, ReelViews
"Sayles' writing is so good, and so convincing, he makes the experience more like reading a complex and well-researched novel than watching a movie."
‑ Jeffrey Overstreet, Looking Closer
"Could have been much more than good, if only it didn't seem so unfocused, and so many characters didn't seem insufficiently explored."
‑ Brian Webster, Apollo Guide
"The shrillness of [Sayles's] more political films is gone, leaving a clear set of opinions but a more even-handed feel."
‑ Michael W. Phillips, Jr., Goatdog's Movies
"Sunshine State is an efficient helping of Sayles, insightful even when it's not richly entertaining or imbued with apparent passion."
‑ Robert Denerstein, Denver Rocky Mountain News
"You can ignore the editorial bluntness and savor the smaller, sweeter details."
‑ Desson Thomson, Washington Post
"Click to read review"
‑ Michael Dequina,
"Not all of the stories work and the ones that do are thin and scattered, but the film works well enough to make it worth watching."
‑ Robert Roten, Laramie Movie Scope
" good as all the performances are, they just can't make up for the fact that it's just too darn long."
‑ David Nusair, Reel Film Reviews
More reviews for Sunshine State on Rotten Tomatoes